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An intelligent knowledge based cost modelling system for innovative product development

This research work aims to develop an intelligent knowledge-based system for product cost modelling and design for automation at an early design stage of the product development cycle, that would enable designers/manufacturing planners to make more accurate estimates of the product cost. Consequently, a quicker response to customers’ expectations. The main objectives of the research are to: (1) develop a prototype system that assists an inexperienced designer to estimate the manufacturing cost of the product, (2) advise designers on how to eliminate design and manufacturing related conflicts that may arise during the product development process, (3) recommend the most economic assembly technique for the product in order to consider this technique during the design process and provide design improvement suggestions to simplify the assembly operations (i.e. to provide an opportunity for designers to design for assembly (DFA)), (4) apply a fuzzy logic approach to certain cases, and (5) evaluate the developed prototype system through five case studies. The developed system for cost modelling comprises of a CAD solid modelling system, a material selection module, knowledge-based system (KBS), process optimisation module, design for assembly module, cost estimation technique module, and a user interface. In addition, the system encompasses two types of databases, permanent (static) and temporary (dynamic). These databases are categorised into five separate groups of database, Feature database, Material database, Machinability database, Machine database, and Mould database. The system development process has passed through four major steps: firstly, constructing the knowledge-based and process optimisation system, secondly developing a design for assembly module. Thirdly, integrating the KBS with both material selection database and a CAD system. Finally, developing and implementing a ii fuzzy logic approach to generate reliable estimation of cost and to handle the uncertainty in cost estimation model that cannot be addressed by traditional analytical methods. The developed system has, besides estimating the total cost of a product, the capability to: (1) select a material as well as the machining processes, their sequence and machining parameters based on a set of design and production parameters that the user provides to the system, and (2) recommend the most economic assembly technique for a product and provide design improvement suggestion, in the early stages of the design process, based on a design feasibility technique. It provides recommendations when a design cannot be manufactured with the available manufacturing resources and capabilities. In addition, a feature-by-feature cost estimation report was generated using the system to highlight the features of high manufacturing cost. The system can be applied without the need for detailed design information, so that it can be implemented at an early design stage and consequently cost redesign, and longer lead-time can be avoided. One of the tangible advantages of this system is that it warns users of features that are costly and difficult to manufacture. In addition, the system is developed in such a way that, users can modify the product design at any stage of the design processes. This research dealt with cost modelling of both machined components and injection moulded components. The developed cost effective design environment was evaluated on real products, including a scientific calculator, a telephone handset, and two machined components. Conclusions drawn from the system indicated that the developed prototype system could help companies reducing product cost and lead time by estimating the total product cost throughout the entire product development cycle including assembly cost. Case studies demonstrated that designing a product using the developed system is more cost effective than using traditional systems. The cost estimated for a number of products used in the case studies was almost 10 to 15% less than cost estimated by the traditional system since the latter does not take into consideration process optimisation, design alternatives, nor design for assembly issues.
Date January 2001
CreatorsShehab, Esam
PublisherDe Montfort University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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