The ability to productively share design data among concurrent engineering team members is critical to successfully implementing a concurrent engineering methodology. In the concurrent process, the product structure is the focal point for all design deliverables. This paper focuses on the need to share and manipulate the product’s design structure and its associated parametric data throughout the course of detailed design. It is based on our experiences at Texas Instruments as we worked to implement concurrent engineering practices into our design environment and came to realize the criticality of managing the product structure throughout the process.
This paper provides the reader with a brief overview of a concurrent engineering methodology, a description of a concurrent engineering data structure (CEDS) and its life cycle, the benefits of maintaining and sharing a common structure (and format) throughout the design process, and proposed requirements for a CEDS management tool. In addition, we describe how we initially implemented CEDS within TI and some thoughts on future implementation possibilities.