Research Papers

An Approach to Constraint-Based and Mass-Customizable Product Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Axel Nordin

Machine Design LTH, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Swedenaxel.nordin@mkon.lth.se

Andreas Hopf

Industrial Design LTH, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Swedenandreas.hopf@design.lth.se

Damien Motte, Robert Bjärnemo

Machine Design LTH, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Swedendamien.motte@mkon.lth.se

Claus-Christian Eckhardt

Industrial Design LTH, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Swedenclaus.eckhardt@design.lth.se

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 11(1), 011006 (Mar 31, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3569828 History: Received October 12, 2009; Revised February 25, 2011; Published March 31, 2011; Online March 31, 2011

In traditional product development, several iterations are usually necessary to obtain a successful compromise between constraints emanating from engineering, manufacturing, and aesthetics. Moreover, this approach to product development is not well suited for true mass-customization, as the manufacturing company remains in control of all aspects of the shape of the product-to-be. In this article, we propose an alternative approach that would (1) allow for an improved integration of industrial design into the product development process and (2) enhance the creative repertoire of industrial designers, which (3) would result in significantly improved prospects for mass-customization. The industrial design process may benefit from using advanced and aesthetically interesting morphologies emanating from the areas of mathematics and nature. Such complex morphologies can only be manipulated (analyzed and represented) by means of specific algorithms. On one hand, this requires a shift from established industrial design practice, where the industrial designer is in total control of the product form; on the other hand, it makes it fully possible to compute form so that it complies with engineering and manufacturing constraints. In this setup, the industrial designer still has control of the final result, in that she or he can choose from a set of valid forms. This approach would greatly reduce the number of iterations in the product development process between industrial design, engineering, and production. Naturally, such an approach also allows for advanced mass-customization by allowing consumers to use these tools. Within this approach, a table generation system has been developed: A system that generates tables whose support structure is based on a Voronoi diagram that fulfills structural and manufacturing constraints while being aesthetically appealing.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Examples of (a) a Voronoi diagram, (b) a minimal surface (twisted Scherk surface), and (c) a D1-tessellation

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Figure 2

Representation of a laser cut and bent Voronoi cell

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Figure 3

(a) User-defined outline and leg positions of the table (dining table). (b) Example of how the Voronoi structure is created. The Voronoi diagram is generated from the Voronoi sites and cut off at the table boundary. (c) Final appearance of the structure after the cells have been cut off.

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Figure 4

Diagram of the evaluation function

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Figure 5

The final optimized structure of the coffee table



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