Technology infusion for complex systems: A framework and case study


  • An early version of this manuscript was presented as a conference paper: E. Suh, M.R. Furst, K.J. Mihalyov, and O.L. de Weck, Technology infusion: An assessment framework and case study, ASME Int Des Eng Tech Conf Comput Inform Eng Conf, August 3–6, 2008, DETC2008-49860.


Manufacturing companies in today's competitive environment constantly need to develop new technologies and infuse them into their line of products to stay ahead of the competition. Most new technologies only deliver value once they are successfully infused into a parent system. However, there has been little research done to develop formal methods to assess the impact of new technology infusion into existing products and systems. In this paper, a systematic framework to quantify and assess the impact of technology infusion early in the product planning cycle is proposed. The proposed methodology quantitatively estimates the impact of technology infusion through the use of a Design Structure Matrix (DSM) and the creation of a Delta DSM (ΔDSM) describing the changes to the original system due to the infused technology. The cost for technology infusion is then estimated from the ΔDSM, and the potential market impact of the technology is calculated based on customer value, expressed through utility curves for system technical performance measures. Finally, the probabilistic ΔNPV of a newly infused technology is obtained using Monte Carlo simulation. The proposed methodology was demonstrated on an actual complex printing system, represented as an 84 element DSM with a density of 3.7%, where a newly developed value-enhancing technology was infused into the existing product. The result shows that a positive marginal net present value ΔNPV can be expected, despite the new technology causing an invasiveness of 8.5% to the existing design. The methodology can be applied in a rigorous and repeatable manner, opening up possibilities for further implementation of the proposed framework, including analysis of the interactions amongst multiple technologies. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng