The pros and cons of modular design for electronics products may leave you wondering what is best for your business. We reached out to some specialists for their perspectives on this question and its impact on businesses. Keep reading to better understand what you stand to lose or gain by going in this direction.
Pros and Cons of Modular Design for Electronics Products
● Modular design allows the easy distribution of components and parts. If one part doesn’t work, you can replace it with another part that does work.
● If you are manufacturing different types of electronics, modular design allows for the reuse of core components or similar parts in each product. This minimizes manufacturing costs while utilizing the same resources efficiently across multiple projects.
● The use of modular design simplifies the assembly process because there are fewer individual pieces to put together.
● Design teams must consider whether an object is modular or not during every stage of the design process, which includes sketching, modeling, simulation, iteration, etc. This can be more time-consuming and may not be possible for certain products.
● Incorrectly assembling modular components can lead to product failure.
● If a modular component fails, it can be difficult and expensive to replace.
● The overall effectiveness of modular design depends on the quality of the individual modules and how well they are integrated. Poorly designed modules can lead to problems and inconsistency in the overall product.
Easy Integration but Functionality Hinderance
Modular design allows for easier integration because they are in-built and require no calibration or additional electronics. This design doesn’t require particular manufacturing equipment, making them perfect for production testing runs.
However, this design may not be suitable for every product or may even hinder its functionality. As modules are pre-built, it only allows for a limited number of product configurations. Modules are limited from six to eight configurations.
Low Product Development Costs but Limited Growth
Advantages of Modular Design
- Shorter delivery times to production
- Optimized manufacturing processes and equipment (manufacturing costs)
- Lower product development costs due to reduced development and test time
- Lower material cost due to economies of scale for the components
- Shorter development times (if the customer product requirements fall within our module capabilities)
- Improved quality of one module improves all products using that module
Disadvantages of Modular Design
- Restricts organization’s technical growth and technology experience – both design and manufacturing (manufacturing strategic advantage and intellectual property generation)
- Can limit new designs or design improvement because of common design entanglements (changing existing customer parts with design changes requires customer approvals)
- Can have longer development times if compelled to only use modular parts that may not meet customer needs
- Limits product development engineering, manufacturing experience, and learning
Fast Integration but Limited Configurations
The modular is fast and easy to integrate because they are pre-built and usually require no calibration. Also, it does not require any specific equipment, thus suitable for any business type. The development cost is lower. Coming to the disadvantages, they have a limited number of configurations. Even the number of optical configurations is also bounded.
Lower Costs and Lower Efficiency
Through my experience in electronic product reviews, I know that modular designs on electronics make them easy to integrate and require no calibration. Plus, modular designs provide a usable solution when the system needs it. It makes electronics compatible for a small production run in addition to saving on product development costs.
However, the greatest disadvantage of having a modular design for electronics has a lot to do with the limited number of configurations. Several parameters that need alteration get fixed by default and cannot be changed. This, in turn, reduces their efficiency.
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