The market globalization pushes for ever new products in order to reach new niches. In the household appliances field, the marketing specialists daily configure new combinations of numerous functional and product requirements seeking new product definitions. Each novel combination requires an assessment of technical and economic feasibility by the design departments. This paper proposes a method for a preliminary validation of new configurations at the marketing stage. Indeed a tentative Bill of Materials (BOM) and a cost of the product are obtained. A knowledge base is derived by eliciting the requirement compatibilities from existing products. The approach is matrix based and it analyzes recurrent dependencies between requirements and components variants to determine which parts are most likely to appear in the BOM. Then, the knowledge base is integrated with rules that are input by experienced designers through a simple syntax. The approach has been tested moving from the requirements of some instances of a family of cookers, and comparing the results obtained from the application of the method with the actual product BOM.
Malatesta, M., Cicconi, P., Raffaeli, R., Germani, M. (2015). Supporting the configuration of new product variants by reusing the implicit knowledge of past solutions. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED (pp.199-208). Design Society.