Modular design issues are receiving increased attention by companies interested in reducing costs from carrying large numbers of components while at the same time increasing product quality and providing customers with greater product variety. Existing research has mainly focused on optimizing product platforms and product offerings, with little attention being given to the interfaces between modules. This research presents an investigation into how module interfaces are best represented in a CAD/PDM environment. The representation decisions are identified and advantages and limitations for each option are presented. Representation decisions revolve around issues such as the use of higher abstraction models, the use of ports, and referencing interface components in interface definitions. We conclude that higher abstraction models are necessary, ports should be represented explicitly, and interface hardware should not be included directly with interfaces. The research considers a large number of components from representative products offered by a home appliance manufacturer.

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