A comparative study of changes across the lifecycle of complex products in a variant and a customised industry

Giovanna Vianello, Saeema Ahmed-Kristensen

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    This paper focuses upon investigating the characteristics of engineering changes and identifying the main reasons for changes arising during the different phases of the lifecycle of complex engineering products. Two case studies representing products with different development processes have been selected and change documentation analysed. The two cases selected were: 1) a variant design product, an aeroengine and 2) a customised product, a drilling equipment for the oil industry. The change requests were analysed to understand their distribution and motivation across the lifecycle of the two products. The findings show that change requests peak during the manufacturing phase and indicate that the motivation for change varies throughout a product’s lifecycle. The results provide insights into the factors to be considered during the development process in order to reduce the number of change requests from the later phases of a product’s lifecycle and to support designers to efficiently address the unavoidable change requests. The findings also show that knowledge is transferred implicitly in the customised design case, resulting in very little knowledge of changes transferred to the next generation of products, whereas in the case of the variant design, knowledge can be transferred incrementally to the next generation of products.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Engineering Design
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)99-117
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Engineering changes
    • service
    • indexing
    • engineering knowledge
    • product lifecycle


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