The product development process is concerned, not only with the design of products, but with how these products are manufactured, distributed and serviced. Engineering conceptual design can be defined as that phase of the product development process during which the designer takes a specification for a product to be designed and generates many broad solutions to it. Each of these broad solutions is, generally, referred to as a scheme. Each scheme should be sufficiently detailed that the means of performing each function in the design has been fixed, as have any critical spatial and structural relationships between the principal components. While it is generally accepted that conceptual design is one of the most critical phases of the product development process, few computer tools exist which provide support to designers working in this stage of product development. This thesis defended in this dissertation is that constraint processing offers a rich basis for supporting the human designer during engineering conceptual design. A new perspective on the conceptual phase of engineering design is presented, upon which a constraint-based approach to supporting the human designer is developed. This approach is based upon an expressive and general technique for modelling: the design knowledge which a designer can exploit during a design project; the life-cycle environment which the final product faces; the design specification which defines the set of requirements that the product must satisfy; and the structure of the various schemes that are developed by the designer. A computational reasoning environment based on the notion of constraint filtering is proposed as the basis of an interactive design support tool to assist a human designer working in the conceptual phase of design. Using this interactive design support tool, the designer can be assisted in developing models of proposed schemes which satisfy the various constraints that are imposed by design. The primary contribution of this research is that it provides a novel approach to supporting the human designer during the conceptual phase of engineering design. The approach presented here not only addresses the issue of modelling and reasoning about the design of products from an abstract set of requirements, but it also demonstrated how life-cycle knowledge can be incorporated into the conceptual design of a product and how alternative schemes can be compared.
Author : Barry Alan O'Sullivan Release : 1999 Publisher : ISBN : File Size : 23.25 MB Format : PDF, Docs Download : 951 Read : 660