Guiding component form design using decision consequence knowledge support
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 November 1999
This paper describes a generic approach to guiding designers when making decisions during the early stages of design. The objective of the research is to enable designers to foresee unintended life-cycle consequences during mechanical component design. Engineering design is a process of evolving solutions to a design problem through the commitment of decisions. As a designer commits a new design decision, a more concrete design solution is generated. Decisions made can have intended and unintended consequences on the performance of the life phase activities that follow, such as manufacturing, assembly, and disposal. Many existing tools only consider the impact of the design solution on later life-cycle phases when the solution is almost complete. This makes changes expensive and difficult. This paper presents a novel approach to how consequences encountered in down stream life-cycle phases can be brought to the designer's attention early in generation of component form. For this purpose, a knowledge model has been derived from a phenomena model. The phenomena model describes how life-cycle consequences are generated during component synthesis. An insight into the representation of the resultant knowledge model is discussed through examples. The implementation of a prototype Knowledge Intensive CAD tool, entitled FORESEE, aimed at supporting life-oriented, feature-based component synthesis and exploration, is also described. The results of the evaluation of FORESEE with a range of designers show that by using the system designers are motivated to explore alternative design solutions and are able to make more informed design decisions. This highlights that the knowledge structure provides a base for extending feature-based component design to a ‘Design Synthesis for Multi-X’ approach.
- Research Article
- © 1999 Cambridge University Press