Design changes are frequently encountered in the product development process. The complexity of the design changes is multiplied when the product design involves multiple engineering disciplines. Very often, a simple change in one part may propagate to its neighboring parts, therefore, affects the entire product assembly. Both parts and assembly must be regenerated for a physically valid product model, at the same time, the regenerated product model must meet designer’s expectations.
When a product is being developed in a Concurrent Design and Manufacturing (CDM) environment, the design changes are usually implemented first by altering geometry of the product represented in computer-aided design (CAD) solid models. If the product solid model is not parameterized properly, the changes in geometry often lead to invalid parts or assembly. At the part level, the changes may yield a solid model with invalid geometric features if it is not properly parameterized. In this case, the entire product assembly is in vain. Even when individual parts of the product are regenerated correctly, parts may still penetrate to their neighboring parts or leave excessive gaps among them, if the solid model is not properly parameterized at the assembly level.
In this paper, solid modeling and assembly techniques implemented in two major CAD tools, Pro/ENGINEER and SolidWorks, will be discussed. A set of guidelines will be proposed for the designers to parameterize the solid models in order to capture the design intents more effectively in the product virtual mockup. These guidelines at both part and assembly levels will support designers to successfully conduct product design in the CDM environment.
A number of examples, including a slider-crank mechanism and its crankshaft, a single-piston airplane engine and its components, as well as a number of simpler parts are presented to illustrate and demonstrate the parameterization method and guidelines proposed for both Pro/ENGINEER and SolidWorks.