ITR: Collaborative Research - An Information Management Infrastructure for Product Family Planning and Mass Customization

Project: Research project

Project Details


This grant provides funding to investigate an information management infrastructure to support the planning and development of families of engineered products and systems for mass customization. The research will be conducted by a multi-university team comprised of faculty from the Pennsylvania State University, Bucknell University, the University of Missouri-Rolla, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The research will address three information technology challenges that include an information management infrastructure, a graphical modeling environment, and an agent-based synthesis framework to support product family planning and customization. First, a generalized information management infrastructure will be developed to facilitate capturing information regarding component sharing and reuse within a family of products. Next, a graphical modeling environment will be created to facilitate product family planning and construction, requirements specification, and customer preference capture. Finally, an agent-based synthesis framework will be developed to help configure platform concepts and customized variants within a product family. The research will be conducted in collaboration with industrial and government partners that include Pratt & Whitney, General Motors, Apprentice Systems, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The results of this research will expand the utilization of information technology across engineering by developing a novel approach for managing design information related to product family planning for mass customization. The work will extend current representation and interoperability standards for product design repositories. The theoretical foundations developed for product family planning and information management will provide the basic framework for the development of an experimental prototype graphical modeling environment to test the validity of the proposed representation and agent-based synthesis methods. This modeling environment will also contribute to the development of integrated and interactive solution procedures for product family planning and synthesis. The project also has an educational component to it. The grant will foster undergraduate and graduate student exchanges between the four universities that are involved in this research, and projects based on the proposed research will be integrated within six undergraduate and six graduate courses at the four universities. Technology transfer will also occur with the industrial partners involved in the research.

Effective start/end date9/15/038/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $407,892.00


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