Assignment #5: assemblies and customization.

Products never meet all users’ needs and wants. They either focus on specific user groups or they expand their target market by offering customization options. The cost and complexity of providing those options must be justified by the additional value they create.

For this assignment, based on your product’s user group you will have to select at least two of your your key value-adding properties, determine which parts in your product architecture serve them and develop a mechanism/system that will allow the end user to control/customize them during the design, fabrication, assembly, or delivery process. These decisions should allow for customization without increasing the cost/complexity of your product and should determine what parts to standardize and what parts to customize as well as what fabrication/assembly processes to use for each of them.

A value-adding feature participates in the fulfilment of the goal that your product serves (value delivery chain). To determine your value-adding features you must have a clear hypothesis of what need your product satisfies, and who and why cares for that. For example, you may be designing a DIY customizable chair assuming that body proportions is an important property that your user cares for, and decide that this property will be controlled by only 4 strategic adjustable parts in your product architecture / assembly design. How would you design those parts in respect to the rest and how would you guarantee their variability?

Stapler tutorial

Questions to think of:
What are your users needs and wants and how does your level of customization fulfills them?
Are these customization options implemented during the production process (when user orders/designs the product) or at the product usage level (when the user uses the product)?
How do these options affect the design of your product architecture, production system, and/or delivery mechanism?
How many functional components does your product architecture have and how do they collaborate to deliver the value to the end user? (see stapler tutorial for further info)

Create a parametric model/mechanism of your product that can take different inputs and output different variations of the selected value-adding features (you may choose to work with any software or programming package you want, or with combinations of more than one). Provide ways of customization either by combinations of standardized components or by parametric variations. What parts remain standardized and what parts bear the transformations?

Determine an assembly architecture focusing on how your product is organized into subassemblies (integral versus modular design). Create a liaison graph, enumerating the parts it consists of as well as the functions they may be serving (it’s OK to represent as subassemblies parts of your design that you are not sure of their details yet).

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