Developing a knowledge-reuse tool for automatic tolerancing in product design
Some activities in the Product Development Process (PDP) are repetitive and time consuming, worsen productivity. Time and cost reduction are achievable through increasing the automation level of such activities, e.g., through knowledge reuse acquired on previous projects. Tolerancing is among these activities where the lack of a systematized, automatic process, leads to rework and productivity loss; there is a need to improve the efficiency of this process, based on knowledge from previous projects. Research has been performed with this objective, but normally resulting in sophisticated processes and tools, hard to implement in less developed industries. This research proposes to fill this gap, by developing a tool to support designers during the tolerancing activity, by automatically indicating tolerances for the dimensions the designer wishes to determine, in the context of an industry that designs and produces laundry machines. This challenge was approached following Knowledge-based Engineering and Case Based Reasoning principles. The evaluation phase revealed that the usage of the tool by the designers resulted in a decrease of activity time of execution and improved the performance of tolerance definition.
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