Integrating DFM with CAD through Design Critiquing

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In research on concurrent engineering and engineering design, the increasing use of design for manufacturability(DFM) is expanding the scope of traditional design activities in order to identify and eliminate manufacturing problems during the design stage. However, manufacturing a product generally involves many different kinds of manufacturing activities, each having different characteristics. A design that is good for one kind of activity may not be good for another; for example, a design that is easy to assemble may not be easy to machine. One obstacle to DFM is the difficulty involved in building a single system that can handle the various manufacturing domains relevant to a design.

In this paper, we propose an architecture for integrating CAD with DFM. This involves the use of multiple critiquing systems, each one dedicated to one type of manufacturing domain. In the proposed framework, as the designer creates a design, a number of critiquing systems analyze its manufacturability with respect to different manufacturing domains (machining, fixturing, assembly, inspection, and, so forth), and offer advice about potential ways of improving the design.

We anticipate that this approach can be used to build an environment that will allow designers to create high-quality products that can be manufactured more economically. This will reduce the need for redesign, thus reducing product cost and lead time.