Integrated configuration knowledge management by configuration matrices - A framework for representing configuration knowledge

J. Nummela

    Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisMonograph

    787 Downloads (Pure)


    To satisfy customer needs a product family has to offer distinctive features while the production struggles with the large variety of different modules and products that can be produced. Configurable products provide the ability to offer different variants for customers. Configurability is often established by modular product family architectures. Modularity and configurability are important factors for producible product families. Producibility offers means to provide effective product family architectures to support the organization designing and manufacturing configurable products. Producibility includes the idea that product family structures need to be simultaneously configurable and support the production system. This has implications to the types of modules used in the product structures. Configurable products involve large amounts of information related to dependencies between different elements of the product structure. The representation of configuration knowledge for configurable products is important. This knowledge needs to be visually available in order to provide efficient basis for the configuration process to be effective. While configuration knowledge needs to be documented to be used as a basis for a configurator, the generic product structure provided by the configuration models establishes a basis for a variety of tools that can be used to support the organization using configurable products as a basis for satisfying the customer needs. The problem for configurable products is that the information related to the products needs to be easily presented to support the organization. This knowledge is usually tacit. While configuration knowledge is not visual also modularity and configurability are often misunderstood in industrial environments while producibility is not even considered. Even if configurable products are utilized, the use of a configurator can be impossible due to the changes that take place during the lifecycle of a product family. Even the implementation of a configurator can be impossible due to the problems in modeling and documenting configuration knowledge. Also the changes during the lifecycle of customer orders mixed with the changes to the configuration models have many effects to the organization using configurable products. The main emphasis of this research is to provide understanding of producibility in the context of configurability and modularity. In order to efficiently use the configuration knowledge to support the organization, configuration matrices are established for documenting this knowledge. The main purpose for the notation used in representing the configuration knowledge is to be as simple as possible so that real benefits for industrial environments can be achieved. The configuration matrices are used to present the modular systems related to the configurable products, thus the configuration knowledge is visualized through these matrices. The configuration matrices also provide the generic product structures for the modular systems. Based on the configuration matrices a framework for configuration knowledge is established in the form of different types of tools that can be used to support the organization. This framework also includes a configurator that can be used in changing environments while the configuration knowledge needed for the configurator is automatically derived from the configuration matrices. The tools presented in the framework integrate different parts of the organization in the context of configuration knowledge. An indepth case study is discussed to validate the results provided by this research.
    Translated title of the contributionIntegrated configuration knowledge management by configuration matrices - A framework for representing configuration knowledge
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationTampere
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    Number of pages205
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-2156-0
    ISBN (Print)952-15-1564-3
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2006
    Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

    Publication series

    NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    ISSN (Print)1459-2045

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    • No publication forum level


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