May 1, 2014 by

Modularity in Design

Modular design is all around us on a daily basis. More than likely you are using a modular design right now! Let’s have a look at our modular world……

Modularity-in-design, is an approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts or modules. The modules can be independently created and then used in different systems to drive multiple functionalities. Adding modularity to the design for a product has many benefits throughout its life cycle, benefits that offer value to each stage of its life. There is modularity-in-production as well as modularity-in-use. It is important to look at a products life cycle when considering modularity in a products design to make sure it’s tailored for each stage of its life.

The main reasons for the application of modularity to a product are the following:
• Reduced Cost
• Flexibility in design
• Expansion (adding new solution by merely plugging in a new module) and exclusion
• To make complexity manageable
• To enable parallel work
• To accommodate future uncertainty

Modular Car Parts and Assembly

Modular Car Parts and Assembly

Modularity-in-production has been around for over a century and no better example than car makers. Automobile companies manufacture there parts in separate locations and bring them all together for final assembly at one site. This is possible because the components have particular engineering specifications that determine how they will interact with the vehicle. This acts as a set of design rules for the parts factories to operate.

Modular Bed for Customization

Modular Bed for Customization

Modularity-in-use applies to the consumer. This allows the consumer to mix and match what they want and need to come up with the final product themselves. For example, consumers buy bed frames, mattresses, sheets, duvets and pillows made by different manufactures and distributed through different retailers. The parts assemble and fit together because there are standard sizes. The standard sizes act as the design rules that intertwine the manufactures, distributors, retailers and the end users to offer customizable final products.

Common Denominator

Common Denominator

With all good modular product designs there must be a common denominator or a standard component to the architecture. Standard sizes or standard interfaces between modules are the key to a successful system of products.

Here at MyVolts, we think modularity can achieve all of the above benefits when applied to power supply’s. Computer and phone manufactures have already shown us the way by making the humble PSU (Power Supply Unit) a separate component to the device itself. We think it is time to look at the Power Supply Unit and dissect it into a modular system that links devices with power delivery.

We have set ourselves the task of designing modular power supplies that can be manufactured in separate locations and work as a cohesive unit once used together. We want to keep the cost down so we can offer the lowest possible price to our customers. Think of a world that could have one power supply system to power all of your devices. We want to combine the advantages of standardization with those of customization. A set of modules that are inherently as useful in isolation as they are in the system. A power delivery system that encourages customization for high and low power demand even increased portability to make power more accessible. A system that can evolve to stand the test of time.

We think the common denominator to achieve this power supply lies with USB and we are very excited to show you our system coming soon to Kickstarter!

I am an industrial designer. I enjoy analyzing people and products to find meaningful design opportunities. Combining problem solving with passion for aesthetics, my work finds smart, simple solutions for complex problems to align with peoples habits and emotions. Sometimes the simple solutions that are overlooked.

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