Project 1: Robust Interfaces in a Platform-Based Approach

​Project Leader: Peter Edholm (Research group: Geometry Assurance & Robust Design)

Academic Staff

RG: Geometry and Motion Planning (GMP)
Fredrik Ekstedt
Johan Carlson

RG: Geometry Assurance and Robust Design (GA)
Rikard Söderberg
Peter Edholm, PhD Student

RG: Systems Engineering and PLM (SE)
Hans Johannesson
Christoffer Levandowski, PhD Student
Magnus Andersson
Andreas Wahl, PhD Student

Industrial Partners

Volvo Cars AB
Dag Johansson

Saab Automobile
Jon Höglind
Anders Claesson
Hans Olofsson
Anders Okstam
Peter Josefsson

Volvo Trucks (Volvo Parts)
Johan Granath
Peter Edholm, PhD Student

Volvo Aero
Ola Isaksson
Tor Wendel
Peter Johansson
Johan Lööf

ABB Corporate Research AB
Xialong Feng
Arne Trangård

RD&T Technology
Lars Lindkvist

Fredrik Ekstedt
Johan Carlson


Cost-effective product families with variants are based on platforms and modules. The functional decomposition and the interfaces between components in a product control the ability to modularize in an effective way. Robust geometrical interfaces will enable product variants with common and unique components to be handled efficiently throughout the design and manufacturing process and to be produced with higher quality.

Modern product and production development strategies, based on product families, platforms and modules, allow reuse of solutions and faster development. To be able to fully take advantage of such philosophies, configurable product structures and new ways to design and configure geometrical interfaces are needed.
A platform definition based on knowledge carrying subsystems has been developed in Stage 1. This approach provides much more configuration flexibility than a part-based defined platform. Such a configurable and knowledge-based platform architecture is also much more robust, as reuse of configurable subsystems instead of reuse of parts makes it possible to have the complete product knowledge contents available for redesign in order to meet new demands.
Managing geometrical interfaces in such a knowledge- based platform architecture context is focused upon in the proposed project.


The goal of this project was to develop strategies, methods and tools to support design of robust geometrical interfaces in the framework of robust configurable platform architectures. The following research questions were addressed:
  • RQ 1:1
    How shall positioning interfaces be described to support a platform-based architecture?
  • RQ 1:2
    How shall surrounding interfaces be defined and configured to support a platform-based architecture?
  • RQ 1:3
    How can positioning interfaces and their interaction be automatically generated and optimized based on CAD geometry?
  • RQ 1:4
    How shall geometrical interfaces and tolerances be optimized in a platform architecture?
    How shall robustness/stability analysis be carried out for a platform? 
    How shall robustness/stability be optimized for a platform?
  • RQ 1:5
    How shall overall geometrical requirements be decomposed in a CC-based platform structure?
  • RQ 1:6
    How can effects from alternative manufacturing/ assembly solutions be taken into account when decomposing the product?
  • RQ 1:7
    How can assembly feasibility be guaranteed in a platform-based architecture?

Project realization

The project was carried out in close cooperation with our industrial partners and involved people from these companies. Case studies were carried out, based on problems from the industrial partners. The project developed generic results that can be used on a variety of products.

Summary of results

The project has mainly resulted in a new approach to describe/model and use geometrical interfaces in platform- based development. The approach is contrary to the classical modular approach where interfaces are fixed and must remain unchanged when product variants are configured. In this new approach the interfaces are configurable design solutions within autonomous, configurable system family models – “configurable component (CC)”.
These system models, which should be seen as fully configurable platform elements, use interaction descriptions and parameter maps to configure the interface design solutions and make instantiated system variants geometrically compatible with other interacting configured platform elements. A software tool, CCM, for platform element modeling and variant configuration has been developed. The tool has been integrated in a platform system architecture with PDM, CAD and CAE software tools for system modeling, variant configuration, analysis and simulation. Analysis and optimization of geometrical robustness of instantiated interface variants are performed as an integrated part of the configuration process using the software tool RD&T.
Research questions RQ1:1–1:3 are mainly addressed in the publications 1:6, 1:12, 1:5, 1:11, 1:14, 2:8, 2:10 and 2:33. Demonstrator implementations of two system platforms, a VCC car door platform and a VAC turbine exhaust case platform, have been done. Research question RQ1:4 has been addressed in publications 1:1, 1:6, 1:9 and 1:3. General aspects of requireWingquist Laboratory VINN Excellence Centre Evaluation Report 2012-01-31 21 Project 2: Integrated Product and Production System Configuration Project Leader: Kristofer Bengtsson (Research group: Flexible Automation) ment decomposition, which are related to research question RQ1:5, are addressed in publications 1:8, 1:10, 1:7, 1:14, 2:8, 2:15, 2:29 and 2:33. Research question RQ1:6 has been addressed in publications 1:4 and 1:9. Research question RQ1:7 has been partly addressed in publication 1:12.


Image: Geometrical robustness

"Robust tolerance design for machined parts"

Short description/results:
A robust tolerance design concept based on locating schemes (for example, used in the car industry for sheet metal parts) and the methods and tools connected with that concept are applied to a new robot development. A case study of a robot assembly is performed in a new robot development project. The robot is mainly designed using machined parts, and traditionally these parts are given their tolerance level using feature-tofeature based tolerances and linear dimensioning [1:8].
The concept was shown to be applicable for machined parts and has been used for a new robot development project. Partners: ABB and Volvo Trucks.

Publication and Presentation Activity

1:1 Bergsjö, D., Almefelt, L., Mahmoud, D., Malmqvist, J., 2010, “Customizing product data management for systems engineering in an informal lean-influenced organization”, Systems Research Forum, 4 (1) pp. 101–120.
1:2 Edholm, P., Johannesson, H., Söderberg, R., 2010, “Geometry interactions in configurable platform model”, Proc. of International design conference - Design 2010, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
1:3 Edholm, P., Levandowski, C., Johannesson, H., Söderberg, R., 2010, “Applied CC configuration in PDM/CAD environment”, Proc. of International Conference on Innovative Technologies - INTECH 2010, Prague , Czech Republic.
1:4 Edholm, P., Lindkvist, L., Söderberg, R., 2010, “Geometry robustness evaluation for common parts in platform architecture”, International Journal of Shape Modeling, 16 (1-2), pp129-150.
1:5 Edholm, P., Lindkvist, L., Söderberg, R., 2010, “Geometry robustness evaluation for common parts in platform architecture”, Proc. of the TMCE 2010, Ancona, Italy.
1:6 Edholm, P., Lindkvist, L., Söderberg, R., 2011, “Minimizing Geometric Variation in Multistage Assembly Line by Geometrical Decoupling”, Proc. of ASME IMECE2011, Denver, Colorado, USA.
1:7 Edholm, P., Lindquist Wahl, A., Johannesson, H., Söderberg, R., 2009, “Knowledge-based Configuration of Integrated Product and Process Platforms”, Proc. of ASME IDETC/CIE 2009, San Diego, California, USA.
1:8 Edholm, P., Lööf, J., Trangärd, A., Söderberg, R., 2010, “Robust Tolerance Design Applied on Robot Concept Development”, Proc. of NordDesign 2010, Göteborg, Sweden.
1:9 Levandowski, C., Edholm, P., Ekstedt, F., Carlsson, J., Söderberg, R., Johannesson, H., 2011, “PLM Architecture for Optimization of Geometrical Interfaces in a Product Platform”, Proc. of ASME IDETC/CIE2011, Washington, D.C., USA.
1:10 Lindquist, A., Gedell, S., Johannesson, H., 2010, “Supply-chain Product Development Collaboration using Configurable Product Platform Models”, Proc. of ASME IDETC/CIE2010, Montreal, Canada.
1:11 Lindquist Wahl, A., Johannesson, H., 2010, “Managing Design Change in Configurable Product Platforms”, Proc. of NordDesign 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. G: Publication and Presentation Activity
1:12 Lööf, J., Söderberg, R., 2011, “Discrete tolerance allocation for product families”, Engineering Optimization, 44 (1) pp. 75-85.
1:13 Lööf, J., Söderberg, R., Lindkvist, L., 2009, “Optimizing Locator Position to Maximize Robustness in Critical Product Dimensions”, Proc. of ASME IDETC/CIE2009, San Diego, California, USA.


1:14 Gedell, S., 2009, “Platform Based Design - Design Rationale Aspects within the Configurable Component Concept”, Licentiate Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Product and Production Development, Report No. 46., Gothenburg, Sweden.
1:15 Lindquist Wahl, A., 2010, “Collaborative Product Realization – Supply Chain and Integrated Development Issues”, Doctoral Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Product and Production Development, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Published: Wed 28 May 2014.