Product Genetic Engineering

Product Genetic Engineering

Author: Kezheng Huang, Hongwu Chen, Yandong Wang, Zhengjun Song, and Liangmin Lv

Abstract: Creativity and high efficiency are still the essential requirements for product design with wide impact on current design research and engineering practice. Design automation aims to increase the efficiency and quality of design work. Creativity is receiving more attention but with essentially little progress so far, especially in automatic design. The rapid and automatic growth of organisms and the great potential for production of new species that Genetic Engineering shows are the two main reasons that lead to our work. A new design environment – Product Growth Design platform (DARFAD) – has been developed, new concepts such as Product Genetic Engineering (PGE) are proposed, a theoretical PGA framework is discussed, and an example of product design is introduced.

10.1 Introduction

In current product design practice, it is useful to distinguish two basic types of design work. In creative design, new solutions or schemes have to be explored. In routine design, there is a relatively well-structured solution or top-level scheme for the product to be developed, and the design work can be divided into sub-tasks. In a broad sense, design is essentially creative and innovative work based on new requirements, knowledge and experience.

Design Automation

Decomposition and Reconstitution (D&R) is one of the most important principles for design automation, which is developed as an innovation principle for the introduction of creative potential into the design automation system. Based on this principle, the presented theoretical study has established some new design automation methods and principles, such as General Positioning Principle (GPP), ‘Cell Growth’ Design Principle (CGDP) and the D&R Based Design Process Model, in which the traditional design practice and process are decomposed into small steps and reconstituted in a different way.

Product Genetic Engineering

The essential difference between an organism and man-made artifact is that there is a growing mechanism for organism, but none exists for man-made artifacts design. In this work, genetic engineering knowledge is applied to design.

Genetic Engineering is the process of insertion of one or more genes from one organism into the DNA of a different organism. It can be thought of as a cut-and-paste process in which specific gene is cut from a donor organism and pasted into the genetic material of another organism. It is the heritable, directed alteration of an organism. The mainstay of genetic manipulation is the ability to isolate a single DNA sequence from the genome. This can be considered as a series of 4 steps of gene cloning experiment: Generation of DNA fragments, joining to a vector or carrier molecule, introduction into a host cell for amplification , and selection of a required sequence.

10.2 Product Growth Design Platform

‘Cell Growth’ Design Principle

Comparing with organisms, we can consider a product as an organism and a part within a product as a cell. Biology shows that cell division is fundamental to the growing process by which a cell divides to form two daughter cells.

cell_division_principleD&R Principle looks like this


 Gene and its Mechanism

Biologically, a gene is a segment of a cell’s DNA. DNA is the blueprint of life containing codes for the proteins that make up an organism’s specific characteristics including physical appearance, physiological functioning, etc. That is, the segment of DNA that have been associated with specific features or functions of an organism are called genes. A gene is a functional and structural unit of a DNA. Genes consist of structural genes, operational genes and regulator genes according to the functional actions in the process of transcription. The genome is the entire DNA “recipe” for an organism, which comprises a certain numbers of genes of the organism.

According to the Central Dogma in molecular biology, two steps of gene expression are essentially the same in all organisms. The term gene is usually taken to represent the genetic information transcribed into a single RNA molecule, which is in turn translated into a single protein.


Analogical Relations between Organism & Product

  1. Gene in biology      Product ‘Gene’
  2. RNA                             Conceptual Architecture (Visual Concept based on  Functional Surface);
  3. Protein                       Solid Product Element
  4. Cell Coat                    Function Surface
  5. Cell                               Part or component, and
  6. Organism                   Product.

Definition of Product Genome

After a systematic comparison between products and organisms, the hypothesis proposed that there are similar genes in product, which should have:

  • an Automatic growth mechanism;
  • Inheritance – genetically transmit the product characteristics from parent parts to offspring parts;
  • Self organization – communicate and inform each other;
  • Adaptability – allow different environmental constraints and user needs to be satisfied.





AdaptEx: Extending Product LIfe Cycles through Strategic Product Upgrades

AdaptEx: Extending Product life Cycle Through Strategic Product Upgrades

Author: Jeff C. Sand, and Peihua Gu

Abstract: Increasing competition for better product functionality, quality, features, customization, environmental friendliness, lower cost and shorter delivery time will require that product-oriented manufacturing and engineering enterprises optimize the entire product life cycle and become more responsive in developing products. For manufacturing of relatively long life and one of a kind products such as power stations or ships, the manufacturing and construction of such products are influenced by the state of the art technology and knowledge as well as other related issues. To maintain or even enhance such engineering systems performance in their life cycles, technical upgrading is necessary. Therefore, it requires a new design thinking process as well as methodology to address these challenges. This paper proposes a new design approach using Adaptive Design Extension (AdaptEx0 that incorporates key design information throughout the entire life cycle of the engineering systems. This helps ensure that the original function and design specifications are not lost or altered due to the operation, maintenance or upgrades made to the system during its life cycle. As the speed of technological change will be continuously increasing, this new methodology will allow design engineers to accommodate for this radical change in technology and be able to implement in to the design. AdaptEx will therefore focus on allowing design enhancements to continue throughout the product life cycle. This paper will reveal the need for this type of design engineering development and summarize some of the potential benefits of implementing the AdaptEx process.

The ultimate goal of AdaptEx is to enhance the overall life cycle of a product and allow for optimization to take place through future upgrades and enhancements during the operational phases. In theory this process will allow the design process to continue throughout the entire life cycle of the product from initial design concept through to product decomposition. Thus, it is expected that AdaptEx could lead to the development of a new methodology to design complex large-scale engineering systems.

9.2 The need for Adaptive Design

AdaptEx will focus on two key processes.

  1. The first of which is extension, to both the product life cycle and to design knowledge into the operational phases.
  2. The second is the enhancement of the original design, which will be enhanced through the use of strategic upgrades that will be planned to improve the initial design as well as extend the overall project life cycle.
TRADITIONAL_DESIGN_MODELThe traditional design model.

The graph above is a representation of the traditional design model. The design phase continues until the initial design is completed. The product then enters the operational phases and slowly begins to deteriorate. Product maintenance is implemented to try and keep the product at its original functionality, represented as a maintenance limit. However, as the product progresses through its life cycle it begins to degrade and lose operational functionality.

 9.3 AdaptEx for Large Scale Engineering Systems

The AdaptEx design model

The graphic above represents the AdaptEx method and how design upgrades will play a critical role in the fulfillment of the design enhancement and life cycle extension. The first upgrades that would be implemented would be type 1 upgrades that were planned during the initial design of the product. During the operational phase type 2 upgrades would be used to satisfy new technological and environmental requirements.

A major difference between the AdaptEx model and the traditional model is how the upgrades are able to enhance the design function and extend the product life cycle.

When managing the life-cycle of complex large scale engineering systems such as oil refineries and nuclear reactors, the AdaptEx methodology has enormous potential to improve and optimize their life-cycle.

Compare_Design_ProcessComparison of Traditional and AdaptEx design process

When the AdaptEx process is implemented it can be seen that the upgrades enhance the initial design. When a type 1 upgrade is implemented it is based on information from the design phase of the project. The design information that was used in the design phase will be reused in the operational phase to help optimize the upgrade. This reusable engineering is very important to the AdaptEx process since it allows the upgrades to be implemented efficiently while remaining timely and cost effective.

Within the operational phase upgrades will be used to enhance the project.  Two major types of upgrades will be implemented. The type 1 upgrades are planned upgrades, which were developed during the design phase of the project. This type of upgrade will be used to fix weakness that existed in the original design. The major focus of this type of upgrade will be based on technology, and most of the upgrade will have been defined during the design phase. New considerations will be made to include new features that came to realization during the operation of the facility.

Type 2 upgrades represent new upgrades developed within the operational phase of the project. It is critical that these new upgrades maintain the initial design function and strive to enhance the design and extend the product life.




Knowledge Management for a Cooperative Design System

Knowledge Management for a Cooperative Design System

Author: Serge Tichkiewitch, Burno Radulescu, George Dragoi, and Kusol Pimapunsri

Abstract: Every five years, the French Ministry of Industry launches a study about the key technologies for the next five years. Knowledge capitalization was one of the mentioned technologies in 2000. This paper starts with the description of some problems forecasted at that time and the actual situation since. In this context, a definition for knowledge management is presented, and some related concepts are proposed.
Finally, it is shown how the expert system technology associated with a cooperative design modeler allows the implementation of the knowledge management concepts.

Knowledge may be universal, vehicular or vernacular. All people normally share universal knowledge. This is for example the case with geometrical knowledge. A specific actor who is only concerned with his or her own job only uses vernacular knowledge. It does not need to be shared. Vehicular knowledge is the type of knowledge which can be exchanged between two or more actors, allowing them for instance to perform collaborative design based on a common understanding. Therefore, the latter type of knowledge is very important for establishing a dialog between two partners.


Managing in a Complex Environment

There is also a paradox to be surmounted: the safeguarding of know-how in time, while avoiding the risk of obsolescence of any part of the data.

8.3 Knowledge Management

In order to define and to give characteristics of knowledge management (KM), let us have a look ta the proposition of Y. Malhotra:

“Knowledge management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival and competence in face of increasing discontinuous environmental change. Essentially, it embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technology and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.”

This is a strategic view of KM that considers the synergy between technological and behavioral issues as necessary for survival in “turbulent environments”. The need for synergy of technological and human capabilities is based on the distinction between the “old world of business” and the “new world of business.”

Within this view, Malhotra defines the old world of business as characterized by predictable environments in which focus is on prediction and optimization based efficiencies. This is the world of competence based on  “information” as the strategic asset, and the emphasis is on controlling the behavior of organizational agents towards fulfillment of per-specified organizational goals and objectives. Information and control systems are used in this world for achieving the alignment of the organizational actors with predefined “best practices.” the assumption is that such best practice retain their effectiveness over time.

In contrast, high levels of uncertainty and inability to predict the future characterize the new world of business. Use of the information and control systems and compliance with the predefined goals, objectives and best practices may not necessarily achieve long-term organizational competence. This is the world of “re-everything”, which challenges the assumptions underlying the “accepted way of doing things”. This world needs the capability to understand the problem afresh given the changing environmental conditions. The focus is not on finding the right answers but also on finding the right questions. This world is differentiated from the “old world” by its emphasis on “doing the right thing” rather than “doing things right”.

KM is a framework within which the organization views all its processes as knowledge processes. According to this view, all business processes involved creation, dissemination, renewal and application of knowledge toward organizational sustenance and survival.

This concept embodies a transition from the recently popular concept of “information value chain” to a “knowledge value chain”.  What is the difference? The information value chain, considers technological systems as key components guiding the organization’s business processes, while treating humans as relatively passive processors that implement “best practices” archived in information databases. In contrast, the knowledge value chain treats human systems as key component that engage in continuous assessment of information archived in the technological system. In this view, the human actors do not implement best practices without active inquiry. Human actors engage in an active process of sense making to continuously assess the effectiveness of best practices.  The underlying premise is that the best practices of yesterday may not be taken for granted as best practices of today or tomorrow. Hence double loop learning, unlearning and relearning processes need to be designed into the organizational business processes.

Artificial Intelligence was a new technique which permitted the computer not only to solve equations but also to reason as an intelligent actor in order to solve problems or to give diagnoses. Prolog, Frames, Production Rules, and Case-based Reasoning are the new language used for the description of Expert Systems.


Structural and Functional Analysis for Assemblies

Structural and Functional Analysis for Assemblies

Author:  Hugo Falgarone and Nicolas Chevassus

Abstract: This article presents a systemic method for designing assemblies. It is based on generic concepts such as modeling of assemblies using assembly nested graphs which reflect the product design breakdown, the interfaces between components. The proposed method enables to assess the product producibility and the robustness of the assembly process. It eases impact analysis following changes of modified product functions or features.
A software tool, called GAIA, has been developed to support this method; based on a user-friendly interface. It enables specifying assemblies through interfaces and performing a functional and structural analysis of assemblies. Interoperable with the Digital Mock-up and Product Management Systems, it speeds up design changes and impact analysis. Finally, it is useful to grasp the design intents and to capitalize and reuse this design knowledge.
The adoption of this advanced modeling technique in support of the engineering assembly process improves the quality of designed products and reduces the cost of change management, customization and fault rectification by solving assembly issues at the design stage.


 7.1 Industrial Background

Traditional Computer Aided Design tools (CAD) help designers to set up product geometrical definitions. However, these tools do not easily capture designers’ intent as it should be needed in order to record the functional specification cascade with respect to the product’s breakdown. For complex assemblies, the main hurdle that prevents designers from understanding the results of systemic analysis deal s with the lack of representation over the product 3D geometry of both functional requirements and interfaces between components.

7.4 GAIA Software for Systemic Analysis of Assemblies

The EADS Corporate Research Centre has developed a new design tool to support the method presented. This innovative piece of software is called GAIA which means Graphical Analysis of Interfaces for Assemblies. This software tool enables to grasp the design intent, the product structural and functional interfaces and the manufacturing process decisions with a user -friendly graphical user interface (GUI). The corresponding product-process specifications can be exported to various product life-cycle management (PLM) and PDM systems.


GAIA is based on a MS Visio user interface and looks like an office tool Its main features are:

  • Support of the presented design method
  • Easy to handle
  • Adaptability to many engineering applications and
  • Client-server architecture with a multi-user database

GAIA provides a common framework and repository throughout the product-process design phases for supporting various methodologies and tools. Its main advantages are:

  • GAIA is a visual tool for specifying assemblies through interfaces
  • GAIA supports the functional and structural analysis for assemblies
  • GAIA speeds up design changes and impact analysis
  • GAIA, coupled with CAD and Computer Aided Process tools (CAP), enabled iterative design from GAIA specification to CAD/CAP definition and back.
  • GAIA makes it possible to capitalize and reuse design knowledge about assemblies.


Reusing Design Knowledge

Reusing Design Knowledge

Author: Saeema Ahmed and Ken Wallace

Abstract: The long-term aim of this research is to develop a method of indexing design knowledge that is intuitive to engineering designers and therefore assists the designers to retrieve relevant information. This paper describes the development and preliminary evaluation of a method of indexing design knowledge. The concepts for the method have been elicited from designers' descriptions of the design process. The method has been evaluated by indexing 92 reports related to one particular aero-engine

Prior to the interviews, it was hypothesized that how designer describe their processes of designing can be classified in four ways:

  1. the process itself, i.e. a description of the different tasks at each stage of the design process
  2. the physical product to be produced, i.e. the product, components, sub-assemblies and assemblies
  3. the functions that must be fulfilled by a particular component or assembly
  4. the issues whilst carrying out the design process there are several considerations the designer must make whilst designing, i.e. issues


6.5 Key Conclusions

The evaluation of the functions taxonomy suggested a need to combine the function taxonomy with a product and issues taxonomy to avoid loss of information.