An efficient optimization algorithm for modular product design

Wahdan H.G.
Abdelslam H.M.
Kassem S.S.

Modularity concepts play an important role in the process of developing new complex products. Modularization involves dividing a product into a set of modules - each of which consisting of a set of components - that are interdependent in the same cluster and independent between clusters. During this process, a product can be represented using a Design Structure Matrix (DSM). A DSM acts as a tool for system analysis to provide clear visualization of product elements. In addition, DSM, shows the interactions between these product elements. This paper aims to propose an efficient optimization algorithm that dynamically divides a DSM into an optimal number and size of clusters in a way that minimizes total coordination cost; the interactions inside clusters (modules) and interactions between clusters. Given problem complexity, five metaheuristic optimization algorithms are proposed and tested to solve it; these algorithms are used to determine: (1) the optimal clusters' number within a DSM, and (2) the optimal components assignment clusters to minimize the total coordination cost. The five used metaheuristics are: Cuckoo Search, Modified Cuckoo Search, Particle Swarm Optimization, Simulated Annealing, and Gravitational Search Algorithm. Eighty problems with different properties are generated and used to examine the proposed algorithms for effectiveness and efficiency. Extensive comparisons are conducted and analyzed. Cuckoo Search is outperforming the other four algorithms. © 2021 Lavoisier. All rights reserved.