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Supporting 'design for reuse' with modular design

Meehan, J.S. and Duffy, A.H.B. and Whitfield, I. (2007) Supporting 'design for reuse' with modular design. Concurrent Engineering: Research and Applications, 15 (2). pp. 141-155. ISSN 1063-293X

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Abstract

Engineering design reuse refers to the utilization of any knowledge gained from the design activity to support future design. As such, engineering design reuse approaches are concerned with the support, exploration, and enhancement of design knowledge prior, during, and after a design activity. Modular design is a product structuring principle whereby products are developed with distinct modules for rapid product development, efficient upgrades, and possible reuse (of the physical modules). The benefits of modular design center on a greater capacity for structuring component parts to better manage the relation between market requirements and the designed product. This study explores the capabilities of modular design principles to provide improved support for the engineering design reuse concept. The correlations between modular design and 'reuse' are highlighted, with the aim of identifying its potential to aid the little-supported process of design for reuse. In fulfilment of this objective the authors not only identify the requirements of design for reuse, but also propose how modular design principles can be extended to support design for reuse.