Natural and predictable changes in consumer needs often require the development of new products. Providing solutions that anticipate, account for, and allow for these changes over time is a significant challenge to manufacturers and design engineers. Products that adapt to these changes through the addition of modules reduce production costs through product commonality and provide a set of products that cater to customization and adaptation. In this thesis, a multiobjective optimization design method using s-Pareto frontiers – sets of non-dominated designs from disparate design models - is developed and used to identify a set of optimal adaptive product designs that satisfy changing consumer needs. The novel intent of the method is to design a product that adapts to changing consumer needs by moving from one location on the s-Pareto frontier to another through the addition of a module and/or reconfiguration. The six-step method is described as follows: (A) Characterize the multiobjective design space. (B) Identify the anticipated regions of interest within the search space based on predicted future needs. (C) Identify the platform design variables that minimize the performance losses due to commonality across the anticipated regions of interest. (D) Assemble the s-Pareto frontier within each region of interest. (E) Determine the values of all design variables for the optimal product design in each region of interest by multiobjective optimization. (F) Identify the module design variables, and identify the platform and module designs by constrained module design. An example of the design of a simple unmanned air vehicle is used to demonstrate application of the method for a single Pareto frontier case. The design of a manual irrigation pump is used to demonstrate application of the method for a s-Pareto frontier case. In addition, these examples show the ability of the method to design a product that adapts to changing consumer needs by traversing the s-Pareto frontier.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





multiobjective optimization, transient pareto design, modular design, future needs