Previously in this forum, we validated a product modularity measure and modular product design method and developed a way to extend these product modularity fundamentals to encompass the impacts of assembly process similarity and dependency. This paper expands the life-cycle process-based modularity representation to the manufacturing process and beyond. Modularity representation, including similarity and dependency, is an important aspect of modular product design and it is imperative for realizing the promised cost savings of modularity. The component-component similarity matrix is used to cluster components with similar manufacturing processes into one module. Similarities are based on component processing codes that represent their manufacturing attributes. Clustering these manufacturing process similarities leads to cost savings through module-wide sharing of process plans, manufacturing tools, and equipment, and the reduction of manufacturing tool and equipment changes during manufacturing. The component-component dependency matrix is based on physical interactions among the components that affect the material, shape, size, surface finish etc. of the components, and therefore affect the component manufacturing processes. If components are independent of other components not in the same module with respect to these physical interactions, the redesign of components in one module will not cause a cascade of design and manufacturing process plan changes for components not in the same module. A fishing reel example is used to illustrate the application of manufacturing process similarity and dependency representations, in association with a product modularity measure and a modular product design method, to form manufacturing process-based component modules. The work in this paper establishes how to represent manufacturing process similarity and dependency for use in product modularity decision making. The use of such modules improves the efficiency of manufacturing process planning, and reduces design and manufacturing process costs.

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