Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 142–170 | Cite as

Co-evolution of products and manufacturing capabilities and application in auto-parts assembly

  • Hoda A. ElMaraghy
  • Tarek AlGeddawy

Automotive engine accessories change frequently due to changes in design and market demands and their assembly lines also adapt to the new product requirements and new technologies. This paper presents novel co-evolution hypotheses and a model for products and their manufacturing capabilities, inspired by the biological co-evolution, which uses Cladistics analysis of the historical development data of both. The model embodies a three-fold approach; first it identifies evolution courses of products and manufacturing capabilities, then it searches for the best matching courses to ascertain manufacturing co-evolution, and finally informs future planning guided by the established co-evolution scheme. A case study of a class of automobile engine accessories and their corresponding assembly lines are modeled and used for illustration and validation. The results reveal the existence of strong symbiotic co-evolution relationships. The use of the proposed hypotheses and co-evolution model increases the efficiency of synthesizing and co-developing those accessories and their assembly lines in the future by highlighting their most evolved features and revealing the need for modifying product features and/or fully exploring the available manufacturing capabilities before acquiring new ones.


Manufacturing systems Co-evolution Cladistic Product design Automotive Assembly 


Taxa (taxon)

A product variant or a manufacturing system capability


Number of taxa in one group (products or manufacturing capabilities)


Number of characters (features) of one group

\( T_{P} \)

Cladogram (evolution hypothesis) of products

\( T_{M} \)

Cladogram (evolution hypothesis) of manufacturing capabilities

\( L(T) \)

Length of cladogram T (i.e. the number of emergent features of products or manufacturing capabilities through an evolution hypothesis)

\( T_{{P_{\min } }} \)

Most parsimonious product cladogram (minimum length)

\( T_{{M_{\min } }} \)

Most parsimonious manufacturing capabilities cladogram

\( d(T_{P} ,T_{M} ) \)

Cladistic difference between two cladograms

\( \Updelta_{t} d(T_{{P_{\min } }} ,T_{{M_{\min } }} ) \)

Cladistic difference between products and manufacturing capabilities over two generations at t and t + 1

\( d(T_{t + 1} ,T_{t} ) \)

Cladistic difference between one side cladograms (products or manufacturing capabilities) over two generations at t and t + 1


Index for x-axis location of a node in a cladogram topology


Index for x-axis location of a node in a cladogram topology


A reference for a specific taxon


A reference for a specific terminal


A reference for a specific character (feature)

\( \beta_{KIJ} \)

Cost of characters emergence through an evolution path (value 1 per occurrence)

\( X_{ij} \)

Evolutionary branching events representation through nodes connectivity to a cladogram topology

\( Y_{IJ} \)

A representation of taxa arrangement to cladogram topology terminals

\( C_{KI} \)

Accounting for the existence of a specific character in a specific taxon

\( \alpha_{Kij} \)

Accounting for nodes that do not hold a specific character

\( \gamma_{J} \)

Cost of nonconforming cladogram topologies for a specific terminal

\( \psi_{QJ} \)

Converting nodes connectivity to indices (upper matrix triangle)

\( \omega_{QJ} \)

Converting nodes connectivity to indices (lower matrix triangle)

\( \lambda_{J} \)

Index for x-axis location of the node that connects a specific terminal to a cladogram topology

\( \mu_{J} \)

Index for y-axis location of the node that connects a specific terminal to a cladogram topology

\( \eta_{J} \)

Topologies nonconformity detection (calculates indices difference of counterpart connecting nodes)

\( \nu_{J} \)

Nonconformity values normalization (converts positive differences into a 1 unit cost)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) Centre, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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