Directions of Next Generation Product Development

Directions of Next Generation Product Development

Author: Tetsuo Tomiyama and Bart R. Meijer

 Abstract: For the last 20 years, the focus has been on product development processes and developing tools to support them, addressing not only technological but also managerial issues. While these tools have been successfully supporting product development processes in a general sense, consensus on the direction of future development seems to be lacking. IN the paper, it is argued that horizontal seamless integration of product life cycle knowledge is the key towards the next generation product development. Knowledge fusion, rather than just knowledge integration, is considered crucial. In this paper, we will try to outline the directions of the next generation product development its tools, and necessary research efforts.

¬†. . . we pointed out that “horizontal” “seamless integration of knowledge” about product’s life cycle is the key to arriving at product development for better, more innovative, quicker, and still greener products.

A knowledge system that represents a mono-discipline required for developing a simple, mono-disciplinary product.


We may then need a set of closely related knowledge systems for multidisciplinary product development. Integrating these closely related knowledge systems requires defining at least interfaces. Such multidisciplinary integration is a key for innovative product development.

knowledge2However, to be more innovative, we may need to go one step further; knowledge fusion.

knowledge3Knowledge fusion is to create a new knowledge system that can be operated as a whole to develop truly multidisciplinary products. Knowledge integration is still a collection of independent knowledge systems with clearly defined interfaces and describes common concepts among those integrated knowledge systems, while knowledge fusion is a situation in which these systems have been totally fused to create a new knowledge system.

. .. the directions of the next generation product development and necessary research efforts. Three key issues were identified. The first issue is “more horizontal integration” to include a wider range of engineering activities. The second is “seamless integration of activities” beyond data and knowledge level integration. The activities within product development can include such tasks as design, computation, procurement, prototyping, and testing, and might even be extended to SCM and VCM based on PLM. The third is product development still pursues” better quality, lower costs, more innovation, higher speed, and yet greener performance.”

For these three issues, knowledge integration plays a crucial role. However since knowledge integration only arrives at a set of knowledge collection of which interfaces are clearly defined, we may need another step; knowledge fusion.

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