Product variety and improvements are the most important issues of today’s product development. Product family engineering is considered to be an effective approach to create new products that apply variability with decreased costs and time. However, given the environmental considerations, this study proposed sustainable product family planning which is a systematic design framework of product function; structure and lifecycle options (i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle). First, relationships between the diverse customer needs, product’s technical attributes and physical architecture are analyzed. Based on the analysis, certain product family plan including a product model change plan, a general product structure model, technical specifications and lifecycle options of each product in the family are established. A life cycle simulation tool is then developed for 1) easy building of various production strategies, product use scenarios and market competition cases, etc.; and 2) environmental and economic evaluations of the product family plan. A case study of personal computers (PCs) product family planning demonstrates an implementation of the proposed methods.

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