Complexity mapping of the product and assembly system

S.N. Samy (Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)
H.A. ElMaraghy (Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Publication date: 6 April 2012



The purpose of this paper is to present methods for assessing and mapping the complexity of products and their assembly. In cases of complexity of assembly it is important to consider and model at the product design stages when only data about individual parts/products and their assembly attributes are known. Assessing the complexity of assembly systems, based on the attributes of their components, is an essential step towards designing them for the least complexity.


This paper presents a mapping method between the complexity of products and their variants and complexity of the system needed to assemble them. A method has also been developed to assess and compare the complexity of assembly systems based on the characteristics of their physical components for comparison and re‐design to reduce complexity.


The complexity dependency matrix estimates the average assembly equipment complexity for a certain product based on the interactions between parts handling, insertion and assembly attributes and assembly system functions. An automobile engine piston, domestic appliance drive, car fan motor and a three‐pin electric power plug products were used to demonstrate the application of the developed methodology.


The developed methods can be used by products and assembly systems designers to identify and alleviate major sources of complexity.



Samy, S. and ElMaraghy, H. (2012), "Complexity mapping of the product and assembly system", Assembly Automation, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 135-151.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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