Product development is a series of organized activities to realize a product concept into a finished tangible product. Product development begins with the perception of a market opportunity and ends in the production, sale, and delivery of a product [Ulrich and Eppinger 2000]. Product design, process design, and manufacturing system design are core activities in product development. These three core activities significantly affect the success of a new product development project, which eventually shape the prosperity of a
manufacturing company. Among the core activities, product design had been conceived as the activity that should be done first, followed by process design and lastly, manufacturing system design. In some sense, it is a natural sequence since process design or manufacturing system design exists to turn a given product design into a physical product. Therefore, it had been customary to finish product design first and deliver product design data to a production engineering group for process design, and then to manufacturing group for production.
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Using a structured approach to understand the interaction between product design decisions and manufacturing system design is critical to reflect manufacturing system issues early in the product development process. Early consideration of manufacturing
system issues prevents product design iterations due to manufacturing system constraints or unnecessary manufacturing system design modification to accommodate new product
designs. However, in academia and industry, few frameworks are available to capture the interaction between manufacturing system design and product design decisions. This thesis presents an approach to capture the interaction between manufacturing system
design and product design decisions, which is called manufacturability evaluation process. The manufacturability evaluation process aims to guide product development
teams to see the effects of their design decisions on manufacturing systems and thus, to make the right decision from the early stage of product development. The manufacturability evaluation process satisfies four objectives: 1) to describe the
objectives of manufacturing systems clearly separated from the means of achievement, 2) to present the impact of various design decisions on the achievement of the objectives of manufacturing systems, 3) to provide a common platform to effectively communicate the impact across the organization, and 4) to provide a framework to put existing tools together to integrate manufacturing system design and product design. The
manufacturability evaluation process is based on a recently developed Manufacturing System Design Decomposition (MSDD).