MARSHALL and LEANEY, 2001. Holonic product design: a process for modular product realisation. Journal of Engineering Design, 13(4), pp. 293-304
This paper introduces a fresh perspective on product modularisation and proposes a process for
modular product realisation called Holonic Product Design. The holon has recently been adopted from Arthur
Koestler’s work to represent subsystem entities within manufacturing systems and the enterprise chain. In
addition, it has been embraced as a philosophy for change that attempts to fashion modern manufacturing
businesses and manufacturing activity. This paper demonstrates the holon as being equally valid as an
approach to product development. Through research at a number of UK companies Holonic Product Design
(HPD) is developed and presented as a structured approach to product realisation. Addressing a total view
through systems engineering, HPD provides an accessible and customisable modular product development
workbook. The efficacy of the new approach is demonstrated through the initial results from a HPD case study.
Further work remains in refining the integration of HPD elements and thoroughly testing the approach through
a full new product development process.