Effective product family design using physical programming

Achille Messac, Michael P. Martinez, Timothy W. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


In response to today's highly competitive global marketplace, many companies are utilizing product families - groups of related products derived from a product platform - to maintain economies of scale while satisfying a variety of customer requirements. This paper focuses on scale-based product families and presents a new single-stage approach for simultaneously optimizing a product platform and the resulting family of products based on one or more scaling variables - variables that are used to instantiate the product platform by "stretching" or "shrinking" it in one or more dimensions to satisfy a variety of customer requirements. The proposed approach is also unique in that it employs the Physical Programming method, enabling designers to formulate the product family optimization problem in terms of physically meaningful terms and parameters. The design of a family of ten universal electric motors is used as an example to benchmark the effectiveness of the proposed approach against previous results. While the emphasis in this paper is on the design method rather than the results per se, performance gains are achieved in the motor family by using the proposed single-stage approach and Physical Programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalEngineering Optimization
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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