Automated Generation of Group Technology Codes from a PDES Product Information Model
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The design and implementation of an automated system that generates group technology (GT) codes for microwave modules (MWM) is presented. An established GT coding scheme (MICLASS) was employed to capture the mechanical attributes of MWM's, while a novel coding scheme was developed to describe their electrical attributes. The input to the automated coding system is provided in the form of a PDES product information model which describes the geometry, topology, form features and electrical characteristics of MWM's. It also includes manufacturing related data for components, hardware, platings, and passages. This information is processed by the rule-base of the coding system to yield, with minimal user input, the product GT code. Major contributions of this research include: i) the application of GT to electrical parts, and ii) the automation of the coding process using a standard part representation. Both these issues have been limiting factors in the widespread use of GT, for reduced efforts in product and process design and for efficient manufacturability assessments of new product designs.