Techniques and Technologies for Product Family Planning and Rapid Response to In-Theater Warfighter Support


Dr. Steve Shooter


Product platforming is a method for leveraging components, processes and/or information across a product family. This leveraging approach can lead to dramatic improvements in development time and costs while optimally targeting opportunities such as market segments or use scenarios. Platforms and modularity can also facilitate customization in response to new scenario demands. Product platforms have been successfully employed for commercial products ranging from single-use cameras, power tools and automobiles, among others. However, use of product platforms adds complexity to the design process and places much greater demands on management and sharing of information. There are many strategic, logistic, and technical considerations in developing common, variant and unique elements or modules. A top-down approach examines a family of products to identify opportunities for redesign based on common platforms and variant or unique elements. A bottom-up approach develops a new family from scratch with consideration of platforms, variant and unique elements. This talk will provide a background in product family planning and efforts to develop technologies to support it. I will give an example of how product platforming has been successfully employed in the commercial sector for customizing playgrounds for municipalities. This will be followed with an example of product platforming in the development and fielding of force protection done by US Army ARDEC. I will close with a description of the current project with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition to examine product platforming for mobile robots in urban environments supported by ONR.

Dr. Shooter is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Bucknell University where he has taught since 1995. His research interests involve information management for design and the design of mechatronic systems and products. Integral to this research is the exploration of approaches for the capture, storage and reuse of product development information. He also explores techniques for enhancing innovation and leveraging assets in developing new products and systems. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania and has been the PI on numerous projects with industry involving new product development and the design of production infrastructure. He has been a research faculty fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Design Engineering Technologies Group and a Visiting Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in the Autonomous Systems Lab. He has been a PI on a multi-university NSF ITR project to explore information management approaches for product platforms and mass customization.. He has also supported design efforts at the US Army ARDEC at Picatinny Arsenal. He is working with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition on improved designs of mobile robots for urban environments.