Dwell linkages have numerous applications in industry, especially in automation. Traditional use of more expensive cams is due to lack of proper design tools for synthesizing dwell linkages. By systematically and extensively studying entire motion characteristics of hundreds of linkages, a comprehensive classification system and heuristics were developed. This qualitative classification scheme led to a finite set of linkage models that cover the entire design space in the sense that any possible design falls under one or more of the models. Our system, called Dwell-Expert, incorporates design expertise to select the best linkage model for a given set of design specifications and to compare that model against alternatives. This new design methodology and its implementation in AGNESS (A Generalized Network-based Expert System Shell) are explained. A design example is presented. Our system can reduce even an experienced designer’s initial-design time from a day or more to a minute or less, assuming specifications have already been formulated. Such results motivate extension of this design methodology to other areas of mechanical design and engineering design in general.

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