The design of a product determines the flexibility of that product for future evolutions, which may arise from a variety of change modes such as new market needs or technological change. The energy, material, and information exchanged between components of a product along with the spatial relationships and movement between those components all influence the ability of that product’s design to be evolved to meet the new requirements of a future generation. Previous work has produced a set of guidelines for product flexibility for future evolution that have been shown to improve the ability of a design to be adapted when new needs arise. Although these guidelines are conceptually easy to understand, it is difficult to assess the extent to which a product follows the guidelines. This paper presents a systematic method to analyze the flexibility for future evolution of products based on selected guidelines. The High-Definition Design Structure Matrix is presented as a product representation model which captures sufficient interaction information to highlight potential design improvements based on the aforementioned guidelines. An interaction basis is used to facilitate the consistency and comparison of HD-DSM models created by different examiners and/or for different systems. The selected guidelines are interpreted in terms of the HD-DSM by creating analysis processes that relate to the characteristics described by the guideline. Two similar power screwdrivers are compared for flexibility for future evolution based on a quantitative analysis of their respective HD-DSMs.

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