Design reuse in a CAD environment
For many companies, design related information mainly exists as rooms of paper-based archives, typically in the form of manufacturing drawings and technical specifications. This 'static' information cannot be easily reused. The work presented in this thesis proposes a methodology to ease this problem. It defines and implements a computer-based design tool that will enable existing design families to be transformed into 'dynamic' CAD-based models for the Conceptual, Embodiment and Detailed stages of the design process. Two novel concepts are proposed here, i) the use of a Function Means Tree to store Conceptual and Embodiment design and ii) a Variant Method to represent Detailed design. In this way a definite link between the more abstract conceptual and the concrete detailed design stages is realised by linking individual detailed designs to means in the Function Means Tree. The use of the Variant Method, incorporating 'state-of-the-art' developments in Solid Modelling, Feature-Based Design and Parametric Design, allows an entire family of designs to be represented by a single Master Model. Therefore, instances of this Master Model need only be stored as a set of design parameters. This enables current design families and new design cases to be more created more efficiently. Industrial Case Studies, including a Lathe Chuck family, a Drive-End casting and a family of Filtration Systems are given to prove the methodology.