The use of feature-based design and Concurrent Engineering promises substantial benefits but their successful implementation is hampered by the lack of a suitable formalism, particularly where, as is often the case, participants are geographically separated. This overall research area can be termed feature-based distributed Concurrent Engineering (FBDCE). The work presented in this paper is focused on how to represent FBDCE in a situation where the participants may be geographically separated, and how to implement it in a formal and systematic way. A representation formalism is proposed for that purpose. This paper first overviews the FBDCE process and identifies the knowledge gaps in existing FBDCE support. A formalism for remote FBDCE is then presented. This formalism uses an object-oriented approach, called Design with Objects (DwO), where features are represented as lower level objects. An Internet network-based implementation of this formalism is described that uses the Internet to support FBDCE. An example is used to illustrate the implementation. The use of DwO for FBDCE offers several important advantages in computability, in that a design process model obtained using DwO is a computable model, in reusability, in that once a design object in DwO has been established, it can be used repeatedly, and in exchangeability, in that objects can be readily exchanged with other objects with similar interfaces. The main contributions of this paper are threefold. First, an object-oriented approach, DwO, to feature based design is described. Second, a formalism for FBDCE using DwO is presented. Third, the use of this formalism is illustrated with an Internet-based implementation showing how the formalism can be used for a specific problem.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modelling and Simulation
- Computer Science Applications