Investigation for a feature-oriented product design
Date of Issue2007
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This research work is devoted to realizing a feature-oriented database system in order to support concurrent and collaborative engineering. The emphasis is on feature modeling in database so that information integration and sharing can be achieved. In the current globalized market with a virtual engineering environment, it is common for engineering tasks to be carried out by a group of engineers who are distributed in terms of both time and space. Furthermore, different engineering partners may use different application systems. A literature survey carried out in this thesis reveals that although many researchers have done much work to reduce the application gaps among different processes, in-depth research is still required to model, analyze and implement a system that can manage the information throughout different stages of product life cycles. In this research project, an original four-layer information model is proposed on the basis of an extended-STEP (standard for the exchange of product model data) framework. To realize this, a generic feature representation schema is developed. It is expected that the proposed information model can be the repository of the entire product model (EPM) that covers the information of a product's entire life cycle. The central piece of this infrastructure is the unified conceptual schema for the feature-oriented database. Sub-models, corresponding to external schema of different applications can be generated to provide specific views of the EPM. Mapping mechanisms between EXPRESS-defined information model and database schemas are also investigated. Based on these mechanisms a feature-oriented database is designed. To manage product information, the mechanisms for feature model evaluation and validation are investigated. A prototyped feature-oriented database system is established with the aforementioned approaches. By integrating this prototyped database with web technology, the information integration in a global collaborative environment can be achieved.