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Function- and constraint-based conceptual design support using easily exchangeable, reusable principle solution elements
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)In: Artificial intelligence for engineering design, analysis and manufacturing, ISSN 0890-0604, E-ISSN 1469-1760, Vol. 19, no 3, 201-219 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conceptual design produces a number of functions the designed product is to fulfill, several solution principles (means) for each function, and multiple overall principle solutions (concepts). Besides concept synthesis, it is important to determine the (few) early solution properties that are of interest at the concept stage. Further activities are assessing the consequences of the chosen means and their instantiation, the effects of changes, and how decisions affect other elements. Using a quantitative functional representation can facilitate these tasks, but a balance is needed between product-dependent tools predicting many detailed properties, and product-independent, generally applicable tools with limited prediction capabilities. A balance between a closed, general set of predefined building blocks and extensibility by modeling application-specific, individual elements is also necessary. In this paper, a generally applicable conceptual design model is presented, which has been established by theoretical reasoning applied to a number of products. These products were the subjects of previous company-ordered student projects. The resulting information model spans continuously from requirements to concepts and permits modeling desired functionality (functions), achieved functionality (means and their value choices), and explicit constraints (internal and external relations between parameters of requirements, functions and means). To indicate the suitability in principle, the model has been implemented in an interactive, incremental prototype for computer support that permits modeling, storage, and reuse in a database. It can be concluded that the model permits explicit modeling of complex relations, automatic change propagation, and handling of many concept alternatives. Integrated, bidirectional, and continuous connections from requirements to concepts facilitate conceptual design, reuse, documentation of the results, and allow changes to be made and their effects assessed easily. Incremental constraint networks are approved, for example, in configuration design or geometry modelers, and the significance of this article is to enable their use also for quantitative analysis of incomplete, evolving concepts in original design tasks allowing different principle solutions, and for various products of mechanical design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 19, no 3, 201-219 p.
Keyword [en]
Concept Synthesis; Constraint Networks; Functional Modelling; Systematic Design.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29472DOI: 10.1017/S0890060405050146Local ID: 14821OAI: diva2:250287
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-11-30
In thesis
1. Constraint-based conceptual design using principle solution elements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Constraint-based conceptual design using principle solution elements
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The design of new products is an important engineering activity, and much of the competitiveness in high-salary countries depends on the ability to develop innovative products with acceptable time to market.

During conceptual design, the principle solution for a product is conceived. This early phase of a systematic design process is of great importance for the later success of products. Available design support tools are mainly oriented towards the later phase of embodiment design (e.g. volume modellers), and they do not effectively support conceptual design. This work presents an information model, methods, and a tool for computer-supported conceptual design.

During conceptual design, creative steps and the modelling of function structures, hierarchies, solution principles and concepts must be supported in order to reduce the considerable time needed by systematic design methods.

Literature as well as existing research prototypes have been analysed to determine the state of the art in research regarding computer-supported conceptual design. Design projects of master's degree engineering students, previously carried-out at the division, have been studied in order to gain insight into the needs and possibilities of supporting concept generation for various design tasks.

The work has resulted in a parametric, feature-based information model that is able to describe concepts as choices of principle solution elements and their quantification by value assignments. The model operates on a higher semantic level than for example document or model files by applying a constraint network that connects parameters of requirements, function structure, F/M tree, solution principles and concepts. The model has been tailored towards easy exchangeability of principle solution elements by a division into different constraint types, of which internal constraints are directly reusable. Using the model, the co-evolution of concept synthesisand early calculations is facilitated.

The presented information model has been implemented in a prototype of an interactive tool for computer-supported conceptual design. The tool includes a graphical user interface for work with views for function structures and F/M trees. Reuse is enabled by storing and re-inserting principle solution elements from a database.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2005. 197 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 930
Conceptual design, functional modelling, constraint-based design, design reuse, VDI 2222, product modelling, design support
National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24463 (URN)6576 (Local ID)91-85297-59-3 (ISBN)6576 (Archive number)6576 (OAI)
Public defence
2005-04-22, C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-11-30

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