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Research Papers

Efficient Design Module Capture and Representation for Product Family Reuse

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Lundin

Product and Production Development,
Luleå University of Technology,
Luleå SE-971 87, Sweden
e-mail: michael.lundin@ltu.se

Erik Lejon

Gestamp R&D,
Luleå SE-973 45, Sweden
e-mail: elejon@se.gestamp.com

Andreas Dagman

Product and Production Development,
Chalmers University of Technology,
Göteborg SE-412 96, Sweden
e-mail: andreas.dagman@chalmers.se

Mats Näsström

Product and Production Development,
Luleå University of Technology,
Luleå SE-971 87, Sweden
e-mail: mats.nasstrom@ltu.se

Peter Jeppsson

Product and Production Development,
Luleå University of Technology,
Luleå SE-971 87, Sweden
e-mail: peter.jeppsson@ltu.se

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received April 21, 2015; final manuscript received December 20, 2016; published online February 16, 2017. Editor: Bahram Ravani.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 17(3), 031002 (Feb 16, 2017) (16 pages) Paper No: JCISE-15-1143; doi: 10.1115/1.4035673 History: Received April 21, 2015; Revised December 20, 2016

New business models and more integrated product development processes require designers to make use of knowledge more efficiently. Capture and reuse are means of coping, but support, techniques, and mechanisms have yet to be sufficiently addressed. This paper consequently explores how computer-aided technologies (CAx) and a computer-aided design (CAD) model-oriented approach can be used to improve the efficiency of design module capture and representation for product family reuse. The first contribution of this paper is the investigation performed at a Swedish manufacturing company and a set of identified challenges related to design capture and representation for reuse in product family development. The second contribution is a demonstrated and evaluated set of systems and tools, which exemplifies how these challenges can be approached. Efficient design capture is achieved by a combination of automated and simplified design capture, derived from the design implementation (CAD model definition) to the extent possible. Different design representations can then be accessed by the designer using the CAD-internal tool interface. A web application is an example of more general-purpose representation to tailor design content, all of which is managed by a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. Design capture is based on a modular view block definition, stored in formal information models, management by a PLM system, for consistent and reliable design content. It was, however, introduced to support the rich and expressive forms of capture and representation required to facilitate understanding, use, and reuse of varied and increasingly complex designs. A key element in being able to describe a complex design and its implementation has been capture and representation of a set of design states. The solution has been demonstrated to effectively be able to capture and represent significant portions of a step-by-step design training material and the implementation of complex design module through a set of design decisions taken. The validity and relevance of the proposed solution is strengthened by the level of acceptance and perceived value from experienced users, together with the fact that the company is implementing parts of it today.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Product family development process, highlighting process stages, activities, repositories, and deliverables

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Fig. 2

An overview of the two types of design modules used at the company and how their characteristics impact use

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Fig. 3

Comparing standard features and user-defined features in terms of dependencies and parametric control

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Fig. 4

Reuse space in terms of degree of completeness and level of abstraction

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Fig. 5

The relative dependency between the level of built-in design module complexity (left-vertical), the number of design modules (bottom-horizontal), product-family-internal reuse (left-vertical), and product-family-external reuse (top-horizontal). The diagonal line, which effectively also represents the relative document distribution, is used to map one axis value to the others.

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Fig. 6

A graph depicting reuse practice. Effective and efficient reuse practice could be argued to be where the hypothetical reuse curve, as a result of invested reuse efforts, exceeds the break-even line (return/investment = 1).

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Fig. 7

A graph depicting reuse practice. Introduced support should ideally minimize the investments required in order to ensure effective and efficient downstream reuse. It should at the same time serve to maximize the reuse return from efforts made and effectively raise the curve (support).

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Fig. 8

An overview of different views (representations) that can be generated based on captured and managed design content

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Fig. 9

Principal implementation of demonstrated solution

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Fig. 10

The CAD-internal toolbox for efficient design capture and representation, here representing a simple set of blend operations with associated design content

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Fig. 11

The CAD-internal toolbox representing a captured instruction step, in this case, how to constrain parts of a sketch

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Fig. 12

A set of design steps generated by the web application, from PLM-managed design content. The complete set of instructions captured (left) and an extraction of the top portion (right).

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Fig. 13

The CAD-internal toolbox for efficient design capture and representation, here a step in the design module implementation

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