Collaborative product platform development in the supply chain faces problems not only with inefficient knowledge management and information exchange between collaborating partners, but also with configuration and carryover strategies — both of which result in large amounts of system variants to maintain, and restrained reuse. To address these problems, this article proposes a new, more system-oriented and abstract, knowledge-based approach to define and describe configurable product platforms. A new platform model concept with a new modeling procedure, consisting of linked, fully configurable generic and autonomous sub-systems, has been devised. The model has been implemented as a separate platform configuration (PFC) system within an envisioned product lifecycle management (PLM) system architecture. The PFC system is the common base for system configuration as well as for information and knowledge exchange between collaborating partners. The proposed platform model and collaborative modeling procedure have been partly verified and validated, in cooperation with the industrial partners participating in a joint research project.

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