The example company's goal in developing design guidelines was and
still remains to influence and educate the design engineer in assimilating
design for producibility into the job function. This will aid in eliminating the
need for a large producibility engineering staff long-term. The systems
producibility function would then evolve into consultations with the design
community in unusual design circumstances and maintaining design guidelines in
line with current design and manufacturing practices.
A critical aspect of developing design
guidelines was to interpret manufacturing technologists' knowledge into an
acceptable format. The recognized experts were assigned the task of supporting
design guideline development. These experts could be within the organization
or outside the company. (Note: The company stated that some guidelines
already exist in industry and should be considered for use before creating
unique documents in-house.
) The essential
elements in design guide development were to create a document that was easy to
use and understand; follow the design process as the design evolved; and migrate
to an automated design tool for future CA applications.
The design community then needed to use the design guidelines.
This was accomplished through the enforcement of the standard design procedures
and through educating the target design community on the benefits of conformance
to the established guidelines. The education process occurred through seminars,
training classes, or on the job by introducing systems producibility design
experts into all design teams. The effort required a significant staff over the
near term, but has proven effective in the complex environment of military
The process of automating design guidelines into design analysis
tools required a thorough knowledge of the methodologies of the producibility engineer, a
complete understanding of product design methodologies, and most importantly, how the two
However developed and implemented, the goal
of a well-defined design methodology needed to be developed at a detail level.
Linking producibility analysis tools into that methodology had to be done in a
manner that supported the concurrent design process that included receiving
real-time feedback at a level useful to the engineer while preserving the
creativity of the designer. In developing design analysis tools, the company
followed five steps in automating the design guidelines. (Note: This
effort, begun a few years ago, is an ongoing program being implemented at the
The first step included a detailed definition of the specific job
of each unique producibility expert. Secondly, the specific interrelationships
between the producibility engineers and design engineers of each element of the
product design was identified. Product design elements included CCAs, castings,
plastics, and optics.
It was then necessary to streamline the entire design process. An
important feature of streamlining was to identify the optimal points at which to
examine the design for maximum effect of the producibility rules.
Once the first three steps were completed, the company could then
begin to develop the specific strategies on how to automate the design
methodologies and define the specific requirements of the producibility analysis
tools. For example, what engineering workstation hardware and software would be
available to the mechanical and electrical design engineer - or what design
analysis tools are required? What is the best approach to embedding
producibility rules within that environment?
With these ideas in mind, the company could then investigate the
optimal approach for maximum cost benefit for each company's unique environment.
Examples included purchasing CAE/CAD systems that had the capability to embed
rule sets within bundled software or perhaps others that required producibility
analysis to be executed off-line and demand communication feeds to other
computer integrated tools.
Although there are producibility analysis tools on the market, the
company developed two artificial intelligence systems. These different types of
tools provided the vehicles for complete integration between the manufacturing
knowledge and the design process in a real-time environment.
One tool was a computerized knowledge-based predictive analysis
tool to evaluate printed wiring board (PWB) designs. It provided the design
engineer with real- time automated producibility analysis of a printed circuit
design prior to component placement. The menu-style, step-by-step system
provided the capability of an interactive consultation to improve the quality
and manufacturability of a design.
The second tool is a computerized interconnect part selection tool
using a knowledge base with integrated producibility guidelines and rule bases.
The interconnect data base provided principal producibility information for
interconnect parts, their physical and electrical characteristics and mating
requirements. This information enabled the user to standardize the component
selection, and associated parts and processes by