Knowledge enabled engineering systems in industrial product development :towards cross company collaboration
Abstract (Summary)The manufacturing industry of today is experiencing an increased competitive environment due to the effects of market globalisation. To be able to stay competitive and provide excellent goods, Swedish industry and academia have foreseen the need for new business scenarios, models and methods. A concept called functional products has arisen, called functional sales or total offer on a business level. Taking an increased responsibility to provide the offered function during the product life cycle increases business possibilities, since the actual ownership of the physical artefact remains with the producer, even though the business risk taken also increases due to uncertainty in the product development process. Why is this uncertainty a risk? By moving from selling traditional hardware to providing a function (the use of hardware, software and service), the entire product after market and the function, including hardware, software and service, are now the responsibility of the supplier. If something fails, it is the supplier’s responsibility. The risk can be lowered if the product and process uncertainty are decreased, i.e. if you have control in the conceptual phase of the product development process the risk can decrease because design decisions are made in this phase. Modelling and simulation of the product in the conceptual design phase gives a better understanding of how early decisions affect the product during its life cycle. Here, the use of Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) methods has proven useful to provide a formalized and automated approach to product development. However, a single company cannot be an expert in all areas of product development, meaning that external supplemental knowledge is needed where internal knowledge is lacking. This collaborative and knowledge sharing development process leads to questions regarding, what to share and what not to share, how to share it and with whom. These questions affect the product development process by leading to a need to find new methods and enabling technologies to support them. The purpose for this research is to examine how the design of Knowledge Enabled Engineering Systems is affected by the concept of Functional Product Development. Studies were performed at affiliated partners in the aerospace and machining/tooling industries to gain a more encompassing understanding of how functional product development processes may be supported with knowledge enabled engineering tools. Software demonstrators were used as both proactive teasers to visualise the possibilities and problems and virtual test beds to try out new thoughts, methods and approaches. This has given insights into the understanding of how functional product development in close business-to-business relationships may be supported by knowledge engineering tools and how it affects the internal and external product development processes.
School:Luleå tekniska universitet
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2006