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Modularisation and product description: a review and a focused case
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Machine Design (Div.).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Machine Design (Div.).
2018 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This technical report contains the results from the first step of a Ph.D. project in the field of modularisation and product description, conducted by the author at Scania CV AB in Södertälje and at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.Scania is one of the leading truck, bus and engine manufacturers in the world and is today a part of the Volkswagen (VW) Group AG, which is one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturing groups. Scania has a successful history in vehicle modularisation and claims it is one of the most important reasons why they are a leading company today. Scania also has a unique way of describing the modular product in their generic product structure, in order to efficiently describe the many product variants. However, the Scania product has over the last years been developed into a mechatronic product with embedded software in focus, demanding the product description as well as the modularisation methodology to support this new dimension. Collaboration within the Volkswagen group also makes it even more important to understand and explain “The Scania Way” of modularising and describing the product.The purpose of the study presented in this technical reports was to investigate the present state at Scania, concerning product architecting, modularisation, product description and configuration. Hence, this report contains a literature review, a case study based on semi-structured interviews, as well as an architecture analysis of some main Scania components. The analysed main components were chosen to both include mechanical, electrical and software disciplines, in order to highlight some of the challenges when modularising and describing a high-performing product configured from heterogeneous technologies that are developed and managed multidisciplinary. Another purpose of the report was to answer the research questions; what is the present state at Scania, regarding product architecture and management of product data? And what are the unique properties in the modular product architecture at Scania and how are they used, developed and maintained?The result of the analysis indicates that the nomenclature needs to be further defined at Scania, preferably with a definition which is consistent in order to reduce the risk of confusion and design mistakes during future collaborations. Scania strives to maximise the number of product variants (external variety), while keeping the number of technical solutions low (internal commonality). Hence, a structured methodology which supports the development of the product architecture is clearly needed at Scania, in order to make future collaborations as efficient and successful as possible, and to control the increasing technical complexity in the future Cyber-Physical Systems. Finally, configuration rules are identified to be highly important in order to successfully realise a modular product architecture, since the architecture normally will not be fully uncoupled. A drawback with this approach is that the solution space (i.e. all valid configurations) becomes extremely hard to identify, therefore an advanced product description methodology is essential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 77
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2018:5
Keywords [en]
Modularisation, Product Description, Module, Product Structure, Product Architecture
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Machine Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-236093OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-236093DiVA, id: diva2:1256202
Note

QC 20181019

Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2019-02-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On integrated modularization for situated product configuration
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On integrated modularization for situated product configuration
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Road transports face increasing societal challenges with respect to emissions, safety, and traffic congestion, as well as business challenges. Truck automation, e.g. self-driving trucks may be utilized to address some of these issues. Autonomous transport vehicles may be characterized as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). A drawback is that CPS significantly increase technical complexity and thus introduce new challenges to system architecting.

A product architecture is the interrelation between physical components and their function, i.e. their purpose. Product architectures can be categorized as being modular or integral. The main purpose of a modular architecture is to enable external variety and at the same time internal commonality. Products with a modular architecture are configured from predesigned building blocks, i.e. modules. A stable module, which is a carrier of main function(s) has standardized interfaces, is configured for company-specific reasons, which means it supports a company-specific (business) strategy.

In this thesis, the present state at the heavy vehicle manufacturer Scania, concerning product architecting, modularization, product description and configuration is investigated. Moreover, a new clustering based method for product modularization that integrates product complexity and company business strategies is proposed. The method is logically verified with multiple industrial cases, where the architecture of a heavy truck driveline is used as a test bench. The driveline contains synergistic configurations of mechanical, electrical and software technologies that are constituents of an automated  and/or semi-autonomous system, i.e. the driveline may be characterized as a CPS. The architecture is analyzed both from technical complexity and business strategy point of view. 

The presented research indicates that a structured methodology which supports the development of the product architecture is needed at Scania, to enable control of the increasing technical complexity in the Cyber-Physical Systems. Finally, configuration rules are identified to be highly important in order to successfully realize a modular product architecture. A drawback with this approach is that the solution space becomes hard to identify, therefore a complete and flexible product description methodology is essential. The results from the case studies indicate that clustering of a Product Architecture DSM may result in a modular architecture with significantly reduced complexity, but with clusters that contain conflicting module drivers. It is also identified that the new modularization methodology is capable of identifying and proposing reasonable module candidates that address product complexity as well as company-specific strategies. Furthermore, several case studies show that the proposed method can be used for analyzing and finding the explicit and/or implicit, technical as well as strategic, reasons behind the architecture of an existing product. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
STOCKHOLM: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019. p. 40
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2019:4
Keywords
Modularization, Product Description, Module, Product Structure, Product Architecture, Cyber-Physical System
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Machine Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-244475 (URN)978-91-7873-115-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-03-14, B242, Brinellvägen 83, STOCKHOLM, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-02-25 Created: 2019-02-22 Last updated: 2019-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Sellgren, UlfWilliamsson, David

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