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A Probabilistic Design Reuse Index for Engineering Designs

Vasantha, Gokula; Corney, Jonathan; Stuart, Struan; Sherlock, Andrew; Quigley, John; Purves, David


Jonathan Corney

Struan Stuart

Andrew Sherlock

John Quigley

David Purves


Many companies offer a range of related products that are constructed using similar components and processes. This enables them to meet customer expectations of product variety while minimising the overheads (e.g. development and manufacturing costs). To support the management of product variety several indices have been proposed in the literature that measure the degree to which component use is standardised across products within the same product family. However, the derivation of some of these statistics can be laborious to calculate due to the effort required to assemble the necessary information. In this paper, we develop an index more suited to the automated data-mining of a companies product portfolio, which is derived from the Kullback-Leibler divergence. The new measure provides an easily computed probabilistic measure that can be used to characterise the degree of component reuse within a single product, across a family of products, and at the individual component family level. To illustrate their application, the indices and several existing measures are calculated for two contrasting product types; using the non-differentiating components of two flatpack furniture ranges, and the components of a range of bicycles.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 22, 2020
Publication Date 2020-10
Deposit Date Jan 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2023
Print ISSN 1050-0472
Electronic ISSN 1528-9001
Publisher American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 142
Issue 10
Article Number 101401
Keywords Component reuse, Commonality, Product family design
Public URL


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