Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software programs are used in mechanical engineering industries to reduce the time it takes to draft, simulate, machine, and plan a product. When knowledge-based expert rules, equations, and proprietary languages extend CAD/CAM software, previously designed mechanisms can be scaled to satisfy new design requirements in the shortest time.

Two major drawbacks exist in current technology. First, embedded design alternatives needed by design engineers during the product conception and rework stages are lacking. Second, an operator is required who has a thorough understanding of the intended design and the how-to expertise needed to create and optimize the design alternatives.

The focus of our research and development was to automate the intellectual operations; e.g., questioning, identifying, selecting, and coordinating the design process. A robust system emerged which:

1. Selects the best mechanisms necessary to design a power transmission device from proven solutions.

2. Aids the inexperienced operator in developing complex design solutions.

3. Provides design alternatives which add back-to-the-drawing-board capabilities to knowledge-based mechanical power transmission CAD programs.

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