An ontology-based product design adviser for assessing End-of-Life (EoL) performance
Lee, Hui Mien
Date of Issue2008
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Over the last decade, environmental sustainability has become an important focus of the international community. In the years to come, it will be even more imperative as the environment continues to deteriorate and an energy crisis continues to loom. Manufacturers are under pressure to practise sustainable product development in the light of more legislation and more emphasis on corporate social responsibility. Manufacturers are adopting the life cycle approach in product development in which the product life cycle loop is closed through considering a product’s end-of-life (EoL) performance at the design stage. Such an approach is fundamental for sustainable product development. The challenge lies in filling the knowledge gap between the end-of-life stage and the design stage. More tools and methodologies for Design for End-of Life (DfEoL) are needed to assist designers in designing products with better end-of-life performance. In the work of this thesis, an ontology-based product design advisor for EoL performance is proposed. This design advisor is based on a novel framework, Design and End-of-Life Information Integration (DELII), that provides a mechanism for information feedback from the EoL stage to designers and a method to assess the EoL performance of design alternatives. This framework leverages on the capabilities of the semantic web services and ontology to provide standardised nomenclature over a distributed environment for the enhancement of information sharing and communication. It consists of four layers, namely, data source, information, analysis and reasoning, and decision support. The EoL engineers would be the ones supplying and managing the information at the data source layer. These data sources will be processed by information layer before going to the analysis and reasoning layer. Lastly, this information will be transformed into knowledge for decision support layer for the designers to access. Ontology is used in the process of managing the information in the framework.