An Automated Framework for Managing Design Complexity
UTAH UNIV SALT LAKE CITY
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Complexity in modern product design is manifest through the interactions of large numbers of diverse parts and functions, and multiple design disciplines. The intricate web of synergistic relationships necessary to link components together makes it difficult for designers to assimilate or represent such complex designs in their totality. Since existing CAD software tools provide only limited support for managing complex designs, it is necessary to document and track complexity relationships independent of the actual CAD models. This reduces the level of detail that can be managed, while requiring more work from the design team and increasing the risk of inconsistencies and errors in the design. To better support management of complex designs, this research integrates multiple design representations and the relationships among them into a single organizational framework. Its goal is to provide flexibility for designers to manage and evolve design representations for a variety of design processes and applications. This research uses design data objects to represent the aggregation hierarchy and relationships between design representations. Aggregation objects are introduced to organize the design into a multileveled hierarchy by encapsulating multiple design components or representations into single objects. This organization serves to abstract design information and facilitate understanding. The design effects that result from the synergistic interaction between components are captured in relationship objects. Relationship objects eliminate duplicate specification and ensure compatibility between components. Together, aggregation and relationship objects form well defined boundaries between design entities to facilitate simultaneous design and reuse. Changes to aggregation and relationship objects are captured in version objects that record the history of a design as it evolves.