Function based heuristics to develop reconfigurable and multifunctional products
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Reconfigurable and Multifunctional products are evolving breed of products that cater to the increased diversification of customer needs. Unlike single state static products which can perform only one primary function, these products cater to different customer needs by performing more than one function with or without changing their configuration. In this approach a function based approach using the reconciled function flow set is proposed. The proposed approach provides a systematic method of combing two existing single state static products into a reconfigurable product. The function structures of the existing products are integrated together to obtain the overall function structure of the reconfigurable product. Function Sharing, based on functional similarity is developed and applied to minimize redundancy of components and streamline the reconfigurable product architecture. The information obtained from the function structure is then mapped to the components of two existing products to analyze their role in the final reconfigurable product architecture. A reconfigurable product metric is developed to enable the designer to compare and evaluate various product combinations and the architecture. Two case studies are presented to illustrate the proposed approach.