Life cycle oriented evaluation of product design alternatives taking uncertainty into account
Product planning activities do not only have to consider the wants and needs of the costumers, they also must meet the requirements coming up during development and manufacturing, while providing maximum economic benefit throughout the life cycle. When deciding what design alternatives to realize, these requirements have to be considered as to their long-term impacts on the entire product life cycle. On the top of that, it is necessary during the early stages of product planning to consider uncertainties arising from the fact that the available information is often incomplete, uncertain and vague. The approach discussed in this paper combines different methods of processing uncertain information on product planning alternatives including the evaluation of economical as well as technical and environmental aspects. While traditional evaluation tools mainly focus on a restricted selection of hierarchical aspects and consider uncertainty as part of sensitivity analysis, this approach allows for an enlarged evaluation of product realization alternatives in the early stages of product development in conjunction with process planning as well as product assessment. This paper describes the theoretical background and explains the developed model in order to support evaluation activities during product planning. In addition, possibilities for the practical implementation are described.