The need to cost effectively introduce new generations of product families within ever decreasing time frames have led manufacturers to seek product development strategies with a multigenerational outlook. Co-evolution of product families and assembly systems is a methodology that leads to the simultaneous design of several generations of product families and reconfigurable assembly systems that optimize life cycle costs. Two strategies that are necessary for the implementation of the co-evolution of product families and assembly systems methodology are: (1) The concurrent design of product families and assembly systems and (2) Assembly system reconfiguration planning (ASRP). ASRP is used for the determination of the assembly system reconfiguration plans that minimize the cost of producing several generations of product families. More specifically, the objective of ASRP is to minimize the net present cost of producing successive generations of products. This paper introduces a method for finding optimum solutions to the ASRP problem. The solution methodology involves the generation of a staged network of assembly system plans for all the generations that the product family is expected to be produced. Each stage in the network represents a generation that the product family is produced, while each state within a stage represents a potential assembly system configuration. A novel algorithm for generating the states (i.e. assembly system configurations) within each generation is also introduced. A dynamic program is used to find the cost minimizing path through the network. An example is used to demonstrate the implementation of the ASRP methodology.

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