Product platform formation has long been considered as an effective method to meet challenges set forth by mass customization. To cater to the changes in customer need driven functional requirements and technological advancements, product platforms have to be robust for a given planning horizon from the manufacturer’s point of view. To date, most of the product platform research is directed towards developing approaches that maximize the usage of common physical structures (such as sub-assemblies and components), amongst product variants. We argue that there is a need to start thinking about platforms at a higher level of abstraction than just at the physical structure level because after all, the physical structures are the end result of the mapping process that starts with the customer needs, cascades to the functional requirements and the behaviors (aka working principle/behavior) that will be used to realize the functions. The Function-Behavior-Structure approach discussed by Gero and Kannengiesser (2003) deals with such an approach. In this paper, we present a methodology called the Function-Behavior Ant Colony Optimization (FB-ACO), to determine a higher abstract level platform at the FB level. The proposed approach can be used to provide critical decisions related to the planning of the advent and egress of a product or the use of a behavior, configuration of the function-behavior platform and the number of such platforms to be considered at a particular time. The FB platform can then be used to develop the detailed design for the family of products under consideration. We demonstrate our proposed approach using the example of a computer mouse product family.

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