In nowadays’ changing manufacturing environment, designing product families based on product platforms has been well accepted as an effective means to fulfill product customization. The current production practice and academic research of platform based product development mostly focus on the design domain, whereas limited attention is paid to how production can take advantage of product families for realizing economy of scale through enormous repetitions. This paper puts forward a concept of process platforms, based on which an efficient and cost saving production configuration for new members of a product family can be achieved. A process platform implies three aspects, including generic representation, generic structures and generic planning. The issues and rationale of production configuration based on a process platform are presented. A multilevel system of nested colored object-oriented Petri Nets with changeable structures is proposed to model the configuration of production processes. To construct a process platform from existing process data, a data mining approach based on text mining and tree matching is introduced to identify the generic process structure of a process family. An industrial example of high variety production of vibration motors for hand phones is also reported.

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