Abstract

Design of a manufacturing supply network (MSN) requires the consideration of decisions made by different groups at multiple levels and their interactions that include potential conflicts. Decisions are typically made based on information from computational simulations that are abstractions of reality and, therefore, embody uncertainty. This necessitates focusing on design space exploration to identify robust satisficing solution sets that are relatively insensitive to uncertainty. Current frameworks that support robust satisficing design space exploration are limited by their capability to support the efficient exploration of multilevel design spaces simultaneously. In this paper, we present the Framework for Robust Multilevel Co-Design Exploration (FRoMCoDE), a decision support framework that allows designers to i) model decision problems across multiple levels and their interactions, ii) consider uncertainties in the decision problems, and ii) visualize and systematically carry out simultaneous exploration of multilevel design spaces, termed co-design exploration. In FRoMCoDE, we combine the coupled compromise Decision Support Problem construct, where a combination of the Preemptive and Archimedean formulations is used, with robust design constructs and interpretable-Self Organizing Maps (iSOM) based visualization to facilitate robust co-design. We use a steel MSN problem with decisions made at two levels to test the framework. Using the problem, we demonstrate FRoMCoDE's efficacy in supporting designers in i) modeling multilevel decision problems and their interactions, considering the uncertainties, and ii) the efficient co-design exploration of multilevel design spaces. FRoMCoDE is generic and supports designers in the robust co-design exploration of multilevel systems.

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