Contemporary Issues and Modern Design Tools

Concurrent Engineering: Contemporary Issues and Modern Design Tools

Ahluwalia, Rashpal S

This book consists of twenty-five separate articles. Each article is a chapter. A total of forty-five authors have made contributions to the work. The volume is organized into four parts.

Part One deals with the organizational issues in concurrent engineering, (CE). It has six chapters. Chapter 1 is on the basic principles of concurrent engineering. It provides an overview and literature survey of the computer-based CE environment. Chapter 2 deals with concurrent engineering’s roots in the World War II era. It points out that CE was used extensively in the design and manufacture of weapons during that war. However, the CE philosophy got lost in the growth and prosperity of the post-war period. Chapter 3 provides an overview of common failure modes and success factors in CE. Management is the cause of the majority of early common failures. Chapter 4 deals with overcoming organizational and technical barriers to the implementation of CE. An organization’s culture is the key to the success or failure of CE. Chapter 5 is on improving interpersonal communication on multi-functional teams. The author describes a methodology for enhancing teamwork. Chapter 6 deals with scheduling of concurrent manufacturing projects. It describes the use of existing techniques of precedence diagramming to achieve precedence relaxation.

Part Two of the book deals with tools and techniques of concurrent engineering. It has ten chapters. Chapter 7 provides an overview of relevant models of design processes. It describes several design theories and their axioms. Chapter 8 presents a decision-based approach to concurrent design. The authors define concurrency as simultaneous resolution of multiple decisions. Chapter 9 is on concurrent optimization of product design and manufacture. It presents a methodology for simultaneously determining decision-making items of product design and manufacture. Chapter 10 describes some computer-based concurrent engineering systems. Cost-based design for manufacture of software for a printed wiring board application is discussed. Chapter 11 describes a multi-attribute design optimization process. Chapter 12 is on concurrent cell design and cell control system configuration. The methodology uses intended management philosophy and performance measures to derive cell design. Chapter 13 provides a generalized methodology for evaluating manufacturability. It is based on quantitative metrics for evaluating manufacturability of designs. Chapter 14 deals with evaluating product machinability. The evaluation is carried out by analyzing tolerance and surface finish requirements. Chapter 15 is on optimization of design and manufacturing tolerances. The authors formulate and solve a nonlinear mixed binary-continuous optimization model for design and manufacturing tolerances. Chapter 16 is on design for human factors. It describes a broad array of ergonomic issues with little reference to CE.

Part Three of the book deals with cost consideration in concurrent engineering. II has only two chapters. Chapter 17 is on designing to cost. It describes models and methods for calculating product cost during product design. Chapter 18 is on economic design. It provides a framework for design justification.

Part Four of the book deals with artificial intelligence in concurrent engineering. It has seven chapters. Chapter 19 is on the application of expert systems to engineering design. Chapter 20 deals with a knowledge-based approach to design for manufacture using features. An expert system stores DFM knowledge using features, as opposed to pure geometry. Chapter 21 is on concurrent accumulation of knowledge. It identifies six design agents, (a design advisor, a critic, a suggestor, a negotiator, an analyst, and an evaluator) for design analysis. Chapter 22 describes integrated knowledge systems for adaptive, concurrent design, It focuses on the need to adapt to a changing environment and to incorporate internal learning. Chapter 23 deals with automating design for manufacturability through the expert systems approach. Chapter 24 is on modeling the design process with Petri Nets. Chapter 25, the final one, is on neuro-computing and concurrent engineering. It describes the fundamental concepts of artificial neural networks and their application to manufacturing feature recognition.

In summary, this volume is a good reference book. It is appropriate for beginning researchers in the field of design and manufacturing engineering. However, several ideas and concepts presented in the book have already been published elsewhere, e.g. in journal articles and in a recent book on concurrent engineering edited by Andrew Kausiak. Also, the present volume has some considerable redundancy, while, on the other hand, its Part Three, on cost considerations, seems much too brief.

Copyright Institute of Industrial Engineers, Inc. Winter 1994

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