The development of product families, groups of products that share a common platform, is one way to provide product variety while keeping design and production costs low. The design of a product platform can be formulated as a multi-criteria optimization problem, in which the performances of individual products trade off against each other and against the objective of platform standardiztion. The problem is often solved in two stages, one to determine the values of the shared platform variables, and a second to optimize the product family members with respect to specific targets. In this paper, a preference aggregation method is applied to aggregate the many objectives into a single overall objective function. This approach is compared to existing techniques for designing a product family and shown to give superior results. An alternate method that uses the minimum and maximum of the range of performance across the platform, instead of the mean and standard deviation, is proposed and shown to have advantages in some situations. A single-stage optimization approach which solves for both platform and non-platform variables in a single pass, is also presented. This approach is shown to perform better and to be more economical for relatively small platforms. The methods are demonstrated on an electric motor example from the platform design literature, and the results are compared with existing methods.

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