Manufacturability verification through feature-based ontological product models

To achieve efficient, fast and cost effective production, designers must consider all the manufacturing stages a product has to go through. A case study in a manufacturing setup shows that owing to the differences in perception of an engineering component, the coordination between design and manufacturing becomes difficult. Semantic interoperability problems are therefore faced when knowledge sharing for the purpose of manufacturability verification is attempted through computer-based knowledge bases. Ontologies have a reputation for solving semantic interoperability problems. Combined with shape feature-based models of components, ontologies provide a basis for seamless knowledge sharing. This article demonstrates the use of ontologies for analyzing the manufacturability of engineering components in the early design stages. This is done by developing shape feature-based ontological models of these components and associating manufacturability knowledge with these models. To achieve this, an ontological modelling technique is proposed that uses shape feature-based geometrical models of engineering components as building blocks. The knowledge associated with these models to demonstrate their use for manufacturability verification is derived from the findings of a case study also detailed in this article. © IMechE 2012.