New dependency model and biological analogy for integrating product design for variety with market requirements

Hoda ElMaraghy, Tarek AlGeddawy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Variety in product design is a result of diversity of needs in different domains and market segments. The two-way interaction and dependency between product design features and customer requirements is analogous to co-evolution in nature, where two groups of different species evolve to co-exist. A new method for designing products, families and platforms by recognising commonalities and core features, using the concept of co-evolution, is introduced in this paper. Cladistics is used to identify product component modules which correspond to common regional market requirements. Algorithms for functional and structural analysis as well as product variants generation have been developed. Complex dependency interactions and modularity relationships are modelled using liaison graphs and cladograms. A case study of washing machines is detailed and used to validate this novel application of the co-evolution dependency model in product families and platform design, demonstrating its use in the world of artefacts co-development. The proposed model is capable of satisfying different market segments' requirements, while minimising the cost associated with product variety, by promoting modular product family design. It selects the best product variant(s) for each market segment and minimises component redundancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-745
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cladistics
  • co-evolution
  • commonality
  • customer requirements
  • dependency matrix
  • market segments
  • modularity
  • platform
  • product design
  • trees reconciliation


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