Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Hoda ElMaraghy


Additive Manufacturing, Assembly Sequence, Hybrid Manufacturing, Process Planning, Product Platform, Smart Manufacturing




Manufacturers strive for efficiently managing the consequences arising from the product proliferation during the entire product life cycle. New manufacturing trends such as smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0) present a substantial opportunity for managing variety. The main objective of this research is to help the manufacturers with handling the challenges arising from the product variety by utilizing the technological advances of the new manufacturing trends. This research focuses mainly on the process planning phase. This research aims at developing novel process planning methods for utilizing the technological advances accompanied by the new manufacturing trends such as smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0) in order to manage the product variety. The research has successfully addressed the macro process planning of a product family for two manufacturing domains: assembly and hybrid manufacturing. A new approach was introduced for assembly sequencing based on the notion of soft-wired galled networks used in evolutionary studies in Biological and phylogenetic sciences. A knowledge discovery model was presented by exploiting the assembly sequence data records of the legacy products in order to extract the embedded knowledge in such data and use it to speed up the assembly sequence planning. The new approach has the capability to overcome the critical limitation of assembly sequence retrieval methods that are not able to capture more than one assembly sequence for a given product. A novel genetic algorithm-based model was developed for that purpose. The extracted assembly sequence network is representing alternative assembly sequences. These alternative assembly sequences can be used by a smart system in which its components are connected together through a wireless sensor network to allow a smart material handling system to change its routing in case any disruptions happened. A novel concept in the field of product variety management by generating product family platforms and process plans for customization into different product variants utilizing additive and subtractive processes is introduced for the first time. A new mathematical programming optimization model is proposed. The model objective is to provide the optimum selection of features that can form a single product platform and the processes needed to customize this platform into different product variants that fall within the same product family, taking into consideration combining additive and subtractive manufacturing. For multi-platform and their associated process plans, a phylogenetic median-joining network algorithm based model is used that can be utilized in case of the demand and the costs are unknown. Furthermore, a novel genetic algorithm-based model is developed for generating multi-platform, and their associated process plans in case of the demand and the costs are known. The model's objective is to minimize the total manufacturing cost. The developed models were applied on examples of real products for demonstration and validation. Moreover, comparisons with related existing methods were conducted to demonstrate the superiority of the developed models. The outcomes of this research provide efficient and easy to implement process planning for managing product variety benefiting from the advances in the technology of the new manufacturing trends. The developed models and methods present a package of variety management solutions that can significantly support manufacturers at the process planning stage.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 07, 2021