AdaptEx: Extending Product LIfe Cycles through Strategic Product Upgrades

AdaptEx: Extending Product life Cycle Through Strategic Product Upgrades

Author: Jeff C. Sand, and Peihua Gu

Abstract: Increasing competition for better product functionality, quality, features, customization, environmental friendliness, lower cost and shorter delivery time will require that product-oriented manufacturing and engineering enterprises optimize the entire product life cycle and become more responsive in developing products. For manufacturing of relatively long life and one of a kind products such as power stations or ships, the manufacturing and construction of such products are influenced by the state of the art technology and knowledge as well as other related issues. To maintain or even enhance such engineering systems performance in their life cycles, technical upgrading is necessary. Therefore, it requires a new design thinking process as well as methodology to address these challenges. This paper proposes a new design approach using Adaptive Design Extension (AdaptEx0 that incorporates key design information throughout the entire life cycle of the engineering systems. This helps ensure that the original function and design specifications are not lost or altered due to the operation, maintenance or upgrades made to the system during its life cycle. As the speed of technological change will be continuously increasing, this new methodology will allow design engineers to accommodate for this radical change in technology and be able to implement in to the design. AdaptEx will therefore focus on allowing design enhancements to continue throughout the product life cycle. This paper will reveal the need for this type of design engineering development and summarize some of the potential benefits of implementing the AdaptEx process.

The ultimate goal of AdaptEx is to enhance the overall life cycle of a product and allow for optimization to take place through future upgrades and enhancements during the operational phases. In theory this process will allow the design process to continue throughout the entire life cycle of the product from initial design concept through to product decomposition. Thus, it is expected that AdaptEx could lead to the development of a new methodology to design complex large-scale engineering systems.

9.2 The need for Adaptive Design

AdaptEx will focus on two key processes.

  1. The first of which is extension, to both the product life cycle and to design knowledge into the operational phases.
  2. The second is the enhancement of the original design, which will be enhanced through the use of strategic upgrades that will be planned to improve the initial design as well as extend the overall project life cycle.
TRADITIONAL_DESIGN_MODELThe traditional design model.

The graph above is a representation of the traditional design model. The design phase continues until the initial design is completed. The product then enters the operational phases and slowly begins to deteriorate. Product maintenance is implemented to try and keep the product at its original functionality, represented as a maintenance limit. However, as the product progresses through its life cycle it begins to degrade and lose operational functionality.

 9.3 AdaptEx for Large Scale Engineering Systems

The AdaptEx design model

The graphic above represents the AdaptEx method and how design upgrades will play a critical role in the fulfillment of the design enhancement and life cycle extension. The first upgrades that would be implemented would be type 1 upgrades that were planned during the initial design of the product. During the operational phase type 2 upgrades would be used to satisfy new technological and environmental requirements.

A major difference between the AdaptEx model and the traditional model is how the upgrades are able to enhance the design function and extend the product life cycle.

When managing the life-cycle of complex large scale engineering systems such as oil refineries and nuclear reactors, the AdaptEx methodology has enormous potential to improve and optimize their life-cycle.

Compare_Design_ProcessComparison of Traditional and AdaptEx design process

When the AdaptEx process is implemented it can be seen that the upgrades enhance the initial design. When a type 1 upgrade is implemented it is based on information from the design phase of the project. The design information that was used in the design phase will be reused in the operational phase to help optimize the upgrade. This reusable engineering is very important to the AdaptEx process since it allows the upgrades to be implemented efficiently while remaining timely and cost effective.

Within the operational phase upgrades will be used to enhance the project.  Two major types of upgrades will be implemented. The type 1 upgrades are planned upgrades, which were developed during the design phase of the project. This type of upgrade will be used to fix weakness that existed in the original design. The major focus of this type of upgrade will be based on technology, and most of the upgrade will have been defined during the design phase. New considerations will be made to include new features that came to realization during the operation of the facility.

Type 2 upgrades represent new upgrades developed within the operational phase of the project. It is critical that these new upgrades maintain the initial design function and strive to enhance the design and extend the product life.