Title: Modular product optimisation to alleviate poverty: an irrigation pump case study

Authors: Patrick K. Lewis; Christopher A. Mattson; Charles D. Wood

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA ' Department of Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602, USA

Abstract: One potential, high-impact area for modular products is the design of income-generating products for poverty alleviation. Income-generating products have helped millions of people sustainably escape poverty. However, millions of other impoverished people are unwilling to invest in these relatively costly products. Modular products have the potential to reduce/overcome this barrier by enabling a product to incrementally adapt to changes in income potential. In previous work of the authors, an optimisation-based modular product design method was developed. Implementation of this method in the creation of a modular irrigation pump is presented herein. The purpose of this study is to physically validate the ability of the method to identify progressively affordable modular products by comparing the performance of the theoretical and physical prototypes of the pump. Based on observations from this comparison, the authors conclude that the method is a feasible approach to engineering-based poverty alleviation.

Keywords: Pareto traversing; modular products; product design; modular design; multi-objective optimisation; engineering-based poverty alleviation; irrigation pumps; case study; incremental adaptation; income potential.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2015.067277

International Journal of Product Development, 2015 Vol.20 No.1, pp.49 - 73

Accepted: 29 Mar 2014
Published online: 28 Jan 2015 *

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