Original Date: 03/08/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Knowledge Based Engineering
The Applied Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University (ARL Penn State) implemented a generative technology or knowledge based engineering (KBE) approach to rapidly develop virtual prototypes. This approach captures discipline rules; integrates engineering computer languages with geometric modelers; and generates various outputs such as computer aided design (CAD) models, dimensional drawings, analysis reports, and manufacturing data. In the past, these tasks were done manually.
KBE facilitates true concurrent engineering by integrating discipline rules (e.g., structural, thermal, manufacturing, geometric, analysis, maintenance) into one model. This method can produce conceptual to detailed models; generate CADs from models and requirements; and quickly make adjustments when specifications change. The process begins with an Information Model, which is defined by entering system inputs, calculating output variables, and establishing subsections. In the modeling of the Long Endurance Low Frequency Acoustic Source, the ARL Penn State used frequency, ping time, length, source level, and ping duration as the system inputs, and calculated the output variables as weight, duty cycle, and deployed canister buoyancy. Next, the model was divided into subsections including float, transducer assembly, and power section. These subsections can also be individually analyzed and optimized. The Design Server then generates various detail levels by using the requirements to determine the sizes and topology of the subsections.
The ARL Penn State’s design servers are implemented with IntelliComputer Aided Design (ICAD)which runs on a variety of UNIX platforms. This KBE tool also combines an engineer-friendly programming language with a solid modeling kernel, so that the geometric primitives are directly inserted into the language. As a result, the ICAD models capture the product attributes at every level. KBE also offers an arbitration feature for optimization. This capability optimizes a design by varying the internal subsystem configurations and their locations.
Using the KBE approach, the ARL Penn State substantially reduced its product cycle time and costs. Product configurations, including subsystems, can now be rapidly changed and analyzed in minutes compared to weeks using manually integrated design changes.
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