A multi-layered approach to product architecture modeling: Applied to technology prototypes

Poul Martin Ravn, Tómas Vignir Guðlaugsson, Niels Henrik Mortensen

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Companies that wish to include novel technology in the product portfolio may need to test and evaluate the technology with the use of prototypes to learn its benefits. Without clear knowledge of the benefits of the technology to the products in the portfolio, in the form of increased performance, added functions, or material savings, the prototype development can be hard to manage. In this article, two contributions are made. The first adds to the vocabulary of prototyping, defining technology prototype, a prototype used for testing a novel technology in the context of an existing product. The second is a tool to model and manage technology prototypes: the Technology Prototype Product Architecture Tool (TePPAT). The TePPAT is a product architecture tool with three main sections: Purpose, Concept, and Architecture. The TePPATwas tested in four industry cases, all part of a public–private partnership project to support the development of technology prototypes using electro-active polymer transducer technology. The findings showed that the TePPAT supported the development teams in the four cases. It is concluded that the TePPAT can support multidisciplinary development teams in modeling and managing technology prototypes and can be correlated with improvements in the team collaboration, communication, and development performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConcurrent Engineering: Research and Applications
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-16
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Product architecture
  • Architecture modeling
  • Technology integration
  • Technology prototypes
  • Prototype development

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