A novel approach to computer-aided configuration design based on constraint satisfaction paradigm
The trend in today’s manufacturing industry is changing from mass production to mass customization. The companies which win the markets are those which can deliver highly customized products at the fastest rate and allow for life-cycle participation of customers regardless of where they are and when they participate. One of the strategies for implementing the mass customization paradigm is to implement the product development according to the assemble-to-order (ATO) pattern. Under the ATO pattern, the design of a product becomes the determination of a configuration which contains a set of pre-developed components – configuration design for short. The configuration design problem can be well treated as a constraint satisfaction problem (CSP). The mature methods are available for CSP, but there are several limitations with CSP for configuration design. This thesis proposes a novel approach to configuration design. This approach is based on a CSP but adds a wrapper (product data model, PDM for short) over the CSP model. Consequently, both the customer and the other life cycle development programs only communicate with the PDM, and a more intelligent and user-friendly computer system for configuration design can then be implemented. Both the conceptual design and implementation of such a wrapper are discussed in this thesis. A computer prototype system for elevator design is developed for demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach.
Integration, Constraint Optimization, Mass Customization, STO, ETO, ATO, PDM
Master of Science (M.Sc.)