Global competitiveness challenges manufacturing industry to bring to market well designed
and manufactured new products at competitive prices, in as short a lead time as possible. To
achieve this, inputs are needed from experts in a multitude of disciplines as well as from
customers and suppliers. The overall design must be well orchestrated and integrated which
has led to the evolution of the philosophy of Concurrent Engineering where the decisions
about different aspects related to the product's life cycle, must be considered simultaneously.
While the use of design teams is achieving some success there is a need for modern
software tools which support the design process to be radically improved.
Typically design for manufacture software systems provide only support for a single process
e.g. design for assembly, design for machining, design for fixturing etc. However, when the
full breadth of design for manufacture is considered there are many aspects that must be
addressed. This leads to the need for information systems to be able to support multiple
views of a product, where each view provides the appropriate representation to support at
least one manufacturing perspective. This research has investigated the potential of product
model based systems to support multiple viewpoints in Design for Manufacture.
The research has focused on the design for manufacture of plastic injection moulded products
and has explored the particular viewpoints of mouldability, mould design and mould
manufacturing. The approach taken has been to explore particular information structures to
support each Design for Manufacture application. Subsequently, the relationships between
these information structures have been investigated and sets of translating mechanisms to
convert information from one view to another have been designed.
An experimental Product Model has been implemented using an object-oriented database.
This contains a mouldability view, cavity and core design views and cavity and core
machining views. Translation mechanisms between views have been implemented using
Visual C++ language. The concept and implementation of this research have been tested
through experiments using both rotational and prismatic products. This research has therefore
shown that multiple viewpoint design for manufacturing can be supported by a combination of
product model data structures and specific sets of translation mechanisms.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.