Title: Toward a multi-agent information management infrastructure for product family planning and mass customisation

Authors: Steven B. Shooter, Timothy W. Simpson, Soundar R.T. Kumara, Robert B. Stone, Janis P. Terpenny

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA. ' Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. ' Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. ' Basic Engineering Department, University of Missouri – Rolla, Rolla, MO 65409–0210, USA. ' Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

Abstract: Development of complex new products requires numerous decisions by many individuals and groups, which are often geographically and temporally distributed. There is a need to share and coordinate distributed resources and synchronise decisions. Recent advances in information technology (IT) pose an untapped potential in assisting the capture, storage, retrieval, and facilitated use of product development information. By sharing assets such as components, processes, and knowledge across a family of products, companies can efficiently develop differentiated products and increase the flexibility and responsiveness of their product realisation process. This paper describes a recent effort in realising an information management infrastructure for product family planning and platform customisation. Particular focus is on current research thrusts: an evolutionary approach to product platforming; a bottom-up approach to product platforming; industry-based platform case studies; exploration of ontologies for representing product family information; filtering techniques to facilitate reuse of manufacturing information in product families.

Keywords: information technology; product family planning; product families; mass customisation; software agents; information management; agent-based systems; multi-agent systems; new product development; NPD; platform customisation; product platforms; information reuse; manufacturing information; product information; information sharing; distributed resources.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMASSC.2005.007354

International Journal of Mass Customisation, 2005 Vol.1 No.1, pp.134 - 155

Published online: 11 Jul 2005 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article