Rapid one-of-a-kind product development : strategies, algorithms and technology.
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The globalization of business and industry and the worldwide competitive economy are forcing One-of-a-Kind Production (OKP) enterprises to utilize fully the best available equipment and techniques. The objective is to have efficient control of the organizational structure in order to produce high quality products at lower prices within a shorter period of time. With the development of modern technologies and theories, a new generation of OKP systems is urgently required for Rapid Product Development (RPD) by OKP enterprises to meet today's increasingly global competition. RPD has been recognized as playing a key role in improving the competitiveness of OKP companies in the global market. With rapid development of information technology (especially Internet technology), network technology, modern management technology and other related advanced technologies to the manufacturing enterprises, tremendous efforts have been made in developing Internet based systems for the purpose of RPD through collaboration over the Internet, e.g. Internet-based systems for product design and manufacturing, Internet based design for X and Internet based integrated systems. These Internet based systems can be used to rapidly produce high quality products with low costs, and thus bring tremendous profit for manufacturing companies and thus stay competitive in the global market. Such kinds of systems are urgently required in industry. However, the research and development of Internet based RPD (IRPD) systems for producing OKP products are still in early stage. Further research and development in this area are becoming more and more urgent. This thesis systematically reviews the historical background of the innovative technologies for Internet based OKP product development. Through this systematical overview of the existing Internet based systems and recent approaches of Internet based design and manufacturing systems, the problems that emerged from recent approaches have been identified. They include, distributed system structure, cost optimization algorithm, product data modeling, production information flow modeling, DFX, CAD/CAPP/CAM integration technology and process modeling and distributed knowledge management. To overcome these problems and to develop a new generation of OKP systems, research and development of a product development platform has been carried out throughout this research work. The main findings are outlined in chapters, which include the definition of the proposed product development platform, an integrated information framework for rapid development of sheet metal parts, the global data structure for global manufacturing, a CAD/CAPP/CAM integration system, a WWW based information management system, cases studies of using the platform for rapid sheet metal and mould product development, the definition and application of an Internet based cost estimation and optimization framework. These research topics and findings constitute the main contents of the thesis. Finally, the future trend of RPD has been proposed in this thesis, which covers the topics of Internet based collaborative design, decision support, manufacturing support, supply chain management, Internet techniques for product design and manufacturing, system integration, product modeling, STEP based data environment, concurrent engineering (CE), etc., which might be used to guide coming research, or to be used as reference for a company to deploy or develop Internet based RPD systems for producing OKP products.