Is modular design easier for the mechanic?

Written by Ulrik Andersson,

Some consider modular design as something for facilitating manufacturing, repair, and maintenance while others think that it only raises the cost for a product – without offering similar benefits. However, it all comes down to the viewer’s perspective. What is regarded merely as an unnecessary cost to one stakeholder could be a definitive advantage to another stakeholder. Let’s have a look at modular design from the mechanic’s perspective.

A bit like Lego blocks

The basic idea with modular design is to make parts, or groups of components (i.e. modules) fit in a standardized way. It’s a bit like Lego blocks. The blocks are compatible with each other, and there are also bigger ready-made modules that could be added to the system. This idea could be applied – to different extents – to different products. A big truck, for example, is not entirely modular. But, subsystems in the vehicle could very well be modularly designed.

The modular design could save time

When manufacturing, assembly is faster since parts and systems/modules are designed to fit without individual adjustments. Also, the repair is faster since identifying a defect module and order a spare unit often is easier than digging into details. Exchanging a complete module with a new one is much quicker than disassembling and reassembling every single part of it.

It could save space and hassle

With complete units, there is a smaller number of spare parts to keep in stock. Fewer part numbers make ordering and administration more manageable, reducing warehousing cost for the workshop.

Non-modular products often require complex handling when disassembling, with many work activities. A module, on the other hand, is easily handled with fewer work activities.

It could reduce new failure

When a broken module is exchanged for a new, also the included unbroken components are exchanged. Exchanging unbroken components for new ones may seem like waste, but there is a point to it. Also, other components may well be affected, even if they haven’t broken yet. By exchanging the entire module, you make sure that all cooperative components are in perfect condition. Otherwise, there is a risk of a new breakdown and, subsequently, further visits to the workshop…

Of course, this is also a question of cost. After all, for an expensive module, it could be worth spending the time and effort to disassemble and replace a specific component.

It could improve functionality – and safety

Modular thinking could also be a matter of safety. If a broken module is part of a safety system or function, replacing the entire module will secure function – and ultimately, safety.

The Onspot chain wheel is an example of this. If a chain breaks, technically it would be possible to replace the broken strand. However, the reason for breaking could be some kind of imperfection in the wheel which could remain also after repairing, ultimately putting functionality and safety at risk.

The Onspot chain wheel is handled as a single unit – a module – for securing functionality and road safety.

This is the reason why the Onspot chain wheel is considered and sold as a single unit – a module. By exchanging the entire chain wheel, you can be sure that all included parts are in perfect condition for optimal function and safety.

What’s in it for the mechanic?

For the mechanic, modular design makes everyday life in the workshop a little easier. It saves time and hassle as well as it reduces the risk of annoyed drivers coming back for yet another repair.

Click here to learn more about the available systems to increase traction, most of them with modular designs.

Comparing methods to increase traction

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Ulrik Andersson

About Ulrik Andersson

Ulrik is Global Brand Manager - Onspot and is located at the headquarters in Vänersborg, Sweden. He has been with the company for over ten years and have been working with sales, marketing and customer relations all of the time. Ulrik enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends. On the weekend, you might find him with a camera taking pictures since that has been a hobby of his for a long time.

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