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Development of design methodology for upgradable products based on function–behavior–state modeling



Extending product life is one of the hopeful approaches to reduce the environmental issue, which is one of the most critical issues of today. However, many products are thrown away because of obsolescence of functions and their performance. Therefore, we should design products to be functionally upgradable. Moreover, such upgradable products may create business chances at later stages of product life cycles. The objective of this research is to propose a design methodology for upgradability. This methodology employs a functional modeling scheme, FBS modeling, because upgrade design is a distinctive application of functional design that aims at maximizing functional flexibility with minimal structural changes after the product is manufactured. Here, the functional flexibility refers to an ability of a product to adapt its functions to changes of user needs. This paper proposes and models design processes and design operations in the upgrade design. Especially, the methodology supports finding out candidates of modifications of the function structure and configuration of a platform, which is common structure of a product among several generations, and upgrade modules. One of its central issues of upgrade design is treatment of future uncertainty. For this purpose, we propose two design strategies: delayed selection of components, and expanding and shrinking platform. A prototype system and a case study of upgrade design for a vacuum cleaner are also illustrated. The case study indicates that the system succeeded in systematically supporting a designer to execute the design methodology. Regarding the functional design, as an extension of FBS modeling, this paper proposes a method to relate abstract entity concepts in FBS modeling to concrete components through a quantitative behavior model and range calculation, in addition to deployment of FBS modeling for the design methodology.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Yasushi Umeda, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Yamada-Oka 2-1, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. E-mail:


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Development of design methodology for upgradable products based on function–behavior–state modeling



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