Product design (PD) is viewed as a knowledge-based, socially mediated, technical activity, and knowledge represents the critical resource in the PD. As knowledge is action enabled, knowledge flows can improve product performance. However, Knowledge flow (KF) has been defined and developed in the organization domain. Unfortunately, the knowledge management field does not have the benefit of strong theory on knowledge flows to inform the enhancement of Knowledge flows to enable and support PD. This paper presents the definition of KF in the domain of PD and analyzes types of KF. The key elements of KF have been introduced respectively and the four types of KF in a distributed resource environment (DRE) are presented and analyzed. We put forward a four-level knowledge flow model (KFM) and establish a novel framework of knowledge flow engine for PD in a DRE. The model has been employed for a case study directly. The proposed model and framework provide a new way to enhance KF in PD under a DRE.

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