Redesign supported by data models with particular reference to reverse engineering
The research reported in this thesis is focused on the creation of a CAE system to support Reverse Engineering. It is centred around the computational representation of products (Product Model) and manufacturing capabilities (Manufacturing Model). These models are essential for modem and future software systems aimed to assist the design process, enabling data sharing among the participants who use various computational tools. Reverse Engineering is employed as a particular context and motivation for exploring the application of the models. The research builds on the achievements of the recently finished Model Oriented Simultaneous Engineering System (MOSES) project, undertaken jointly by Leeds University and the Department of Manufacturing Engineering of Loughborough University. MOSES' work on information modelling was analysed and combined together with the original proposals of the author to elaborate a suitable support to Reverse Engineering, applicable to redesign in general. A process for Reverse Engineering is proposed and documented and a data model driven CAE system to support it is specified. The CAE system includes a Product Model, a Manufacturing Model and two software application environments. The Product Model of the system is based on the information requirements of the Reverse Engineering process and is suitable for representing multi-component products, from different perspectives through its life cycle. The applications assist the characteristic activities of Reverse Engineering. In particular, the system is used for exploring the application of Product and Manufacturing Models in supporting Design for Manufacture. The theoretical research is tested by the use of a case study which explores the Reverse Engineering of a component. This work is supported by a prototype software instance of the CAE system. The case study component is an axle which forms part of a product designed and manufactured by a collaborating company.