The design of modular products has recently become the focus of significant research in the area of design theory and methodology. This focus is the result of increased awareness of the potential power of modularity to achieve certain product objectives. However, there continues to be a gap between the results of academic research and industrial application. The refinement, consolidation, and extension of this academic research would help design teams who are charged with developing modular products to use these academic findings in real world, industrial applications. The research presented in this document focuses on developing design tools, based on past and present academic research, for use in industrial settings where the design of a modular product is the goal. In this document the many definitions and methods for classifying modular products are consolidated and refined. Through thisrefinement and consolidation a new scheme for classifying modularity types, the Modularity Type Space (MTS), is developed that not only succinctly defines the types of modularity, but shows the relationships between them. Metrics and heuristics are also presented that are helpful in identifying the type of modularity a product uses in its architecture. The MTS is presented as a tool to help design teams screen modular product designs for the purposes of concept selection based on the strategic goals that the product must achieve. Several examples, as well as a case study, are presented in this document to show how to use the tools contained herein and to illustrate their usefulness. With the modular product design tools developed in this document, design teams will be able to more quickly and cost-effectively design modular products that meet their desired strategic objectives.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





Modular, Product, Evaluation, Design, Comparison, Strategy, Strategic, Metric, Tools, Objectives