Structural Awareness in Complex Product Design

Year: 2007
Author: Maurer, Maik S.


Product development of technical products is characterized by a steady increase of complexity. Particularly, modern business strategies focusing on customization ask for enhanced possibilities of complexity management. Common methods mostly address selected viewpoints of dependencies between domains (i.e. classes of similar elements of a system) and only provide limited support for the analysis, control, and optimization of complex structures. The thesis tackles these shortcomings and develops an approach based on graph theory for the management of complex structures in domain-spanning networks. The suggested Multiple-Domain Matrix supports the entire process of complexity management including the information acquisition, the network analysis and the derivation of specific actions. The application of the findings allows for robust product design, efficient project coordination and finally results in development time and cost savings.


The research presented in the thesis introduces an approach to complexity management that focuses on the connectivity in objects of product development, i.e., the constellations formed by existing linkages. This provides far-reaching possibilities for analysis, control, and optimization of complex products and services in a holistic context, while the amount of data remains manageable.

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