A multi-faceted concept of customizing products and services, mass customization (MC), extends to multiple levels and to wide and diverse approaches and aspects. Although there are many related literature, the principles and technologies of mass customization of cyber-physical systems (CPSs), and in particular cyber-physical consumer durables (CPCDs), have not received enough attention. Unique characteristics of CPCDs make them difficult to be customized by using conventional MC approaches. This paper reports on the conduct and the results of a critical survey towards an in depth understanding of existing MC approaches. As a first step, a comprehensive reasoning model was created, which identified methodology, product life cycle, actors, artifact, and affordances as orthonormal domains of knowledge related to MC. Then, a different classification of MC approaches has been developed in order to provide a better resolution for product life cycle and more explicitly definite MC approaches. The outcome of our survey and analysis shows that although conventional MC approaches offer many applicable principles, none of these approaches, individually, is able to fulfill all the requirements for MC of CPCDs — therefore a novel approach is needed. Development of a novel approach would entail reformulation of applicable principles and generation of new ones. The survey revealed that more focused research is needed to come up with appropriate MC principles that focus on specific families of CPCDs.

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