Mayer de Ávila, R. and Borsato, M., "Modularity Adoption in Product Development: A Case Study in the Brazilian Agricultural Machinery Industry," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 7(1):122-128, 2014, doi:10.4271/2013-01-9093.
Facing a competitive and globalized market and with increasingly demanding customers, companies must constantly seek the development of practices in the development of new products. One of the current practices is the adoption of modularity. In that sense, the objective of this paper is to conduct an analysis of this practice in a Brazilian company, which manufactures agricultural machinery. The applicability of modular design in current products is focused. Therefore, a case study approach has been chosen. First, a review of the scientific literature was conducted, followed by field research, for collecting data based on interviews with product engineers and technical documentation. The case study shows the applicability of the modular design concept in a combine header, by increasing the number of repeated components. The modular header approach facilitates the implementation of engineering changes and allows greater standardization of components. In addition, it contributes for greater flexibility, as it is possible to create a wider range of product configurations and satisfy specific customer needs. The proposed modular design can provide further benefits such as product cost reduction due to larger lots of parts. In recent years, the company's forecasts have indicated that the market will require high-power harvesting machines with greater capacity. Therefore increasing diversification in the composition of the header product family is demanded. The use of modular headers can facilitate proper reaction to variable market demands, as each module can be produced, stored and adapted according to production orders.