A modular design approach has been developed for rapid machine (tool) architecture design to support agile manufacturing. While this approach consists of three stages, presented in this paper is the third stage: module layout synthesis, which is designated to determine machine tool structural layouts for desired machine tool configurations based on given machine tool modules. In particular, the module synthesis approach consists of two steps: module layout generation and module layout selection. In module layout generation, the methods for layout enumeration, isomorphism detection, and module assignment are presented. In module layout selection, reconfigurability, structural stiffness, and error sensitivity are treated as the three evaluation criteria. Module layout evaluation and selection algorithms are developed. An illustrative example is presented to implement and validate the proposed approach.

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