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AbstractIn recent times, the development and manufacture of new products and the necessary tools required to carry out such activities has resulted in vast amounts of knowledge and information being generated. In product development there are no hard and fast rules determining the length of product development projects and quite often over a 10-year period several hundreds of projects could come into being, quite often coinciding with huge advances in technology over the same period. This advancement in technology has often taken over the role of the designer who carries out calculations and attempt to provide solutions. This has resulted in certain cases with designers having very little to no understanding or practical experience of the manufacturing process and design expertise required to ratify product designs. The resultant loss of information and intent and the lack of exploitation of manufacturing constraints and product knowledge can quite often lead to difficulties resulting in product re-design and in some cases failure in the hands of the customer. In order to provide knowledge to support product development, there is a requirement to capture the knowledge of the manufacturing processes within the organization, which includes the process, materials, resource, design rules, capacity and other constraints that may limit the capabilities of the organization. The research presented in this thesis proposes a knowledge based framework to support product development Furthermore, the research includes the development of a knowledge based system in order to identify, capture, formalize, present and utilize knowledge within a product development environment. In this research, a knowledge based framework to support product development was developed in order to create an “AS-IS” process map of current product development practices within a case company from the cold roll forming industry. The process map guided the identification of information and knowledge required to support the product development process and formed the basis of the knowledge based system developed to provide effective decision support. Finally, the framework and knowledge based system were implemented within the case company. The results from the case study demonstrated how the knowledge based frame work and knowledge based system provided effective decision support by providing information and knowledge in the place, time and format required, thus ultimately reducing product development costs and improving quality
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Master of Philosophy