CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

Living Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Sami Chatti, Tullio Tolio

Product Architecture

  • Peihua GuEmail author
Living reference work entry



In engineering design, product architecture is related to the functional elements and physical components of products and is used to define “the basic physical building blocks of the product in terms of what they do and what their interfaces are to the rest of the device” (Ulrich and Eppinger 2000). One of the most widely accepted definitions of product architecture was given by Ulrich (1995) as “the scheme by which the function of a product is allocated to physical components,” more precisely as “(1) the arrangement of functional elements; (2) the mapping from functional elements to physical components; (3) the specification of the interfaces among interacting physical components.”

Some slightly different definitions from different points of views can also be found. For example, Fixson (2005) defined product architecture from an information point of view as “a comprehensive description of a bundle of product characteristics, including number and...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eric Lutters
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology Laboratory of Design, Production and ManagementEnschedeThe Netherlands