Knowledge-based Engineering in Product Development Processes - Process, IT and Knowledge Management perspectives
Doktorsavhandling, 2011

Product development as a field of practice and research has significantly changed due to the general trends of globalization changing the enterprise landscapes in which products are realized. The access to partners and suppliers with high technological specialization has also led to an increased specialization of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Furthermore, the products are becoming increasingly complex with a high functional and technological content and many variants. Combined with shorter lifecycles which require reuse of technologies and solutions, this has resulted in an overall increased knowledge intensity which necessitates a more explicit approach towards knowledge and knowledge management in product development. In parallel, methods and IT tools for managing knowledge have been developed and are more accessible and usable today. One such approach is knowledge-based engineering (KBE), a term that was coined in the mid-1980s as a label for applications which automate the design of rule-driven geometries. In this thesis the term KBE embraces the capture and application of engineering knowledge to automate engineering tasks, regardless of domain of application, and the thesis aims at contributing to a wider utilization of KBE in product development (PD). The thesis focuses on two perspectives of KBE; as a process improvement IT method and as a knowledge management (KM) method. In the first perspective, the lack of explicit regard for the constraints of the product lifecycle management (PLM) architecture, which governs the interaction of processes and IT in PD, has been identified to negatively affect the utilization of KBE in PD processes. In the second perspective, KM theories and models can complement existing methods for identifying potential for KBE applications. Regarding the first perspective, it is concluded that explicit regard for the PLM architecture decreases the need to develop and maintain software code related to hard coded redundant data and functions in the KBE application. The concept of service oriented architecture (SOA) has been found to enable an the explicit regard for the PLM architecture.. Regarding the second perspective, it is concluded that potential for KBE applications is indicated by: 1.) application of certain types of knowledge in PD processes 2.) high maturity and formalization of the applied knowledge 3.) a codification strategy for KM and 4.) an agreement and transparency regarding how the knowledge is applied, captured and transferred. It is also concluded that the formulation of explicit KM strategies in PD should be guided by knowledge application and its relation to strategic objectives focusing on types of knowledge, their role in the PD process and the methods and tools for their application. These, in turn, affect the methods and tools deployed for knowledge capture in order for it to integrate with the processes of knowledge origin. Finally, roles and processes for knowledge transfer have to be transparent to assure the motivation of individuals to engage in the KM strategy.

Knowledge-based engineering

product development

product lifecycle management

knowledge management

service oriented architecture

Virtual Development Laboratory, Hörsalsvägen 7A
Opponent: Professor Chris McMahon


Amer Catic

Chalmers, Produkt- och produktionsutveckling, Produktutveckling

Implementing a service-oriented PLM architecture focusing on support for engineering change management

International Journal of Product Lifecycle Management,; Vol. 3(2008)p. 335-355

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Requirements Management When Introducing New Mechatronic Sub-systems - Managing the Knowledge Gaps

Proceedings of 11th International Design Conference - DESIGN 2010, Dubrovnik, Croatia,; (2010)p. 661-672

Paper i proceeding

Manufacturing Experience In a Design Context Enabled By a Service Oriented PLM Architecture

2008 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, DETC 2008; New York City, NY; United States; 3 August 2008 through 6 August 2008,; Vol. 5(2008)p. 257-265

Paper i proceeding

Towards Integration of KBE and PLM

Proceedings of ICED´07, Paris, France,; (2007)

Paper i proceeding

KBE teknologin har under nästan tre decennier demonstrerats i både akademiska och industriella sammanhang som ett effektivt IT stöd för produktutveckling. Trots detta har den inte nått en bred användning inom industrin liknande den som CAD, CAM, CAE och PDM (som tillsammans också kallas PLM) har erfarit. Denna avhandling har som syfte att analysera KBE från ett process- och IT-perspektiv samt från ett kunskapsperspektiv för att föreslå lösningar som kan bidra till att en bredare användning av KBE i produktutveckling kan uppnås. Slutsatserna är att en bredare användning av KBE skulle gynnas av att den omgivande PLM-arkitekturen beaktas explicit under utvecklingen av en KBE applikation i syfte att undvika att hårdkoda redundant data i KBE applikationen. En annan slutsats är att en tjänstebaserad PLM arkitektur kan möjliggöra en minimering av antalet interface i KBE applikationen som i sin tur bidrar till en bredare användning av KBE genom att minska barriärerna för dess implementering. Från kunskapsperspektivet är slutsatserna att ett sådant saknas i KBE-utveckling och att KBE måste ses som en kunskapshanteringsmetod och som sådan överensstämma med organisationens kunskapshanteringsstrategi. Avhandlingen föreslår också ett ramverk och en process för att stödja en produktutvecklande organisation i att explicit formulera sin kunskapshanteringsstrategi utifrån sin verksamhet för att kunna välja lämpliga kunskapshanteringsmetoder och -verktyg.

The KBE technology has under three decades been demonstrated in both academic and industrial contexts as an effective IT support for product development. Despite this, KBE has not experienced a wide utilization in the industry similar to that of CAD, CAM, CAE and PDM (together referred to as PLM). The purpose of this thesis is to analyze KBE from a process and IT perspective and from a knowledge perspective in order to suggest solutions that can contribute to a wider utilization of KBE in product development. The conclusions are that a wider utilization of KBE would benefit by a more explicit regard for the PLM architecture during the KBE application development to avoid hard coding of redundant data into the KBE application. Another conclusion is that a service oriented PLM architecture can enable a minimization of interfaces in the KBE application which, in turn, contributes to a wider utilization of KBE by lowering the barriers for its implementation. From a knowledge perspective the conclusions are that such a perspective is lacking in KBE development and that KBE, as a knowledge management method, needs to comply with the knowledge management strategy in the organization. The thesis also proposes a framework and a process to support a product developing organization to explicitly formulate its knowledge management strategy based on its business processes in order to choose appropriate knowledge management methods and tools.


Annan maskinteknik

Tillförlitlighets- och kvalitetsteknik


Hållbar utveckling

Innovation och entreprenörskap





Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 3256



Virtual Development Laboratory, Hörsalsvägen 7A

Opponent: Professor Chris McMahon

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