University of Hull

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Background

The Designers' Sandpit project follows many years of successful collaboration between Prof. Ken Swift at the University of Hull and Mr Graham Jared at Cranfield University aimed at the integation of Design for Assembly (DFA) techniques within a Computer Aided Design (CAD) environment.

  The antecedents of the current project lie in a previous SERC ACME funded project. One of the key results of this was to demonstrate that around 70% of data necessary for a DFA analysis could be extracted either directly or by geometric reasoning from a suitably enhanced CAD model of components and assembly relationships.

A subsequent programme - the OPHIR project - explored the relationship between assembly sequences and successful DFA analyses. This research established that generation of a suitable assembly sequence is fundamental to the success of any DFA analysis and that the existing DFA methodologies themselves must be modified, adapted and extended for use with an incomplete product description, so-called 'Proactive DFA'. One of Ophir's more important results in relation to the 'Sandpit' project is the demonstration of a working prototype interactive environment for the construction and validation of assembly sequences (see Figure 1). If a little basic with respect to its interface, this demonstrator established the principles of concurrent design generation and assembly evaluation, so called 'Assembly Oriented Design'. Furthermore, reaction from a wide variety of industrial companies, visited in the course of knowledge engineering tasks within the OPHIR project, highlighted the potential of Assembly Oriented Design and the need to encompass support for concept design and early DFA evaluation, to ensure that product design is optimised in the first instance. Indeed designers do not welcome tools that evaluate completed designs and warn of forthcoming expensive consequences at the manufacturing stage. This has been described as the 'ugly baby' syndrome.

 

Figure 1 - The Ophir Demonstrator

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Page Last Updated : 10/1/2009