A design process for the adoption of composite materials and supply chain reconfiguration supported by a software tool

Adrian Coronado Mondragon, Christian E Coronado Mondragon, Paul Hogg, Nuria Rodriguez-Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Downloads (Pure)


Composite materials comprising fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs) possess advantageous properties that surpass that of traditional materials. The use of composite materials may give the opportunity to improve the technical specifications of a manufactured module and also impact the configuration of the supply chain. However, this represents a challenging decision-making process as various technologies are available for the manufacturing of composite materials. This paper proposes a design process based on the identification of the bill of materials of a component where the substitution of certain sub-assemblies using composite materials may result in the reduction of parts, operations and suppliers. The design process is supported by a customized software tool that generates a graphic representation of the bill of materials of the selected module, allowing users to choose a specific sub-assembly, select composite materials process types and identify potential suppliers from a database. An industry case involving the production of a module used in urban buses/long distance coach manufacturing is employed to illustrate the proposed design process. The software tool developed satisfactorily integrates the bill-of-materials and current product and process specifications with an existing costing engine and a populated database of potential composite materials suppliers. The approach presented in the paper can be used to address the lack of evaluation tools for using composite materials/carbon fiber.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalComputers & Industrial Engineering
Early online date17 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • composite materials
  • design process
  • decision making
  • supply chain configuration/rationalization
  • manufacturing technology

Cite this