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978-3-86853-805-2, Reihe Produktentwicklung
Werkzeuge für die rechnerbasierte Konfiguration kundenspezifischer Produkte
200 Seiten, Dissertation Technische Universität Braunschweig (2010), Softcover, A5
The thesis concentrates on the configuration of complex custom products in the field of mechanical engineering. The customization of such products is related to high costs and a relatively high design effort. The usual clarification process is iterative, with many errors and schedule risks. The current process of globalization offers for small and medium sized companies in engineering fields new and interesting business opportunities. However, there are also special requirements and risks associated, as the boundary conditions of foreign customers and markets need to be processed. The necessity to respect the international norms and standards overlap with the diverse historical product spectra.
Front-loading, simultaneous engineering and the virtualization of product development are discussed as a general approaches for improving the product offering and the product development processes.
Product configurators are used for the configuration of individual, tailor-made consumer and investment goods. The tasks of a configurator are systematically presented from the customer, the sales and the design departments points of view. The existing configuration tools are classified taking into account different criteria. This supports the choice of an appropriate configuration system for a specific problem.
Based on the findings of the state of the art, requirements were formulated for a configuration system for custom investment goods. The proposed basic solution consists of three main modules: the configuration knowledge base, the configuration tools and the CAD interface. Different methodical approaches are discussed for each of these three modules. The creation of the product knowledge base can only be company specific, as the already existing databases and information sources have to be integrated in the configuration platform. The necessary steps are explained. Dependencies systems are suggested as tools to recognize and help solve the existing goal conflicts in the complex systems. The prototype software IKSolve was developed to test and validate the configuration of custom products based on dependencies systems. The automation possibilities for the configuration in CAD systems were tested and compared for the CAD systems Pro/E and NX. Two optimal automation tools were chosen and the different implementations were presented.
The developed tools were validated on two specific industrial application examples. With the prototype it could be shown, that customized products can be quickly and reliably configured.
The results of the paper provide a significant contribution to improving the effectiveness of the configuration of customized products in the near future. The main potential was recognized in the interdisciplinary work in the engineering and computer science fields of study.