Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been increasingly used to support the decision making in manufacturing organizations however they lack the ability to fully support the capture and sharing of specific domain knowledge across multiple domains. The ability of ICT based systems to share knowledge is impeded by the semantic conflicts arising from loosely defined meanings and intents of the participating concepts. This research work exploits the concept of formal ontologies to rigorously define the semantics of domain concepts to support knowledge sharing within the assembly domain.
In this thesis, a novel research framework has been proposed in the form of a assembly reference ontology which can provide a common semantic base to support knowledge sharing across the assembly design and assembly process planning domains. The framework consists of a set of key reference concepts identified to represent the assembly domain related knowledge. These concepts have been specialized from the most generic level to the most specialized level and have been formally defined to support the capture and sharing of assembly knowledge. The proposed framework also supports the creation of application specific ontologies by providing them with a common semantic base.
The research concept has been experimentally investigated by using a selected set of assembly reference concepts which have been used to formally represent and relate assembly design and assembly process planning knowledge. The results of the experiments verify that the implemented ontology facilitates the system to understand the semantics of concepts and supports knowledge sharing across the assembly design and assembly process planning domains. The experimental results also show that the proposed framework can also support the development of a range of application specific ontologies.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Combined scholarship from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore and Loughborough University