Chapter 12
Concurrent Product Design and Assembly Sequence Planning: A Comprehensive Framework


Today, the current competitive industrial context requires more advanced models, methods, and tools in order to deliver well-balanced products which fulfill all life-cycle constraints in a consistent and harmonious manner. In such a context, product design is generally seen as a crucial stage since design decisions have an important impact on downstream processes (i.e., manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, etc.). Among the numerous existing issues to be addressed in this phase [1–4], the aim of our research work concerns assembly process generation/integration in early product design so as to promote life-cycle awareness for designers and compact product life cycles in a concurrent manner, especially at the beginning-of-life (BOL) phase. In this research area, many attempts have been made in the past, in order to integrate assembly process knowledge and constraints in product design. These efforts have provided some interesting results such as well-known design for assembly (DFA) analysis and knowledge-based engineering applications, to name a few [5–8]. Actually these approaches have enabled some improvements and verifications on detailed product geometry but are still limited with a part-oriented vision and reactive procedures, therefore leading to redesign [9, 10]. Here the proposed research work introduces another way to tackle this challenging issue. The whole concept is based on an effort to generate as early as possible admissible assembly sequences in the first steps of the product design in order to define an assembly-oriented design (AOD) context for designers. This stake therefore requires additional efforts to gather a comprehensive model, some approaches with reasoning procedures for data structuring, geometric computation and product process data management, and tools [11].

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