In product design, passing undetected errors to the downstream can cause error avalanche, could diminish product acceptance and largely increase the overall cost. Yet, it is difficult for designers to collect all the related potential errors from different departments in the initial design phase. In order to deal with these problems, this paper puts forward an ontology based method to integrate related history error data from different data sources of multiple departments in an enterprise. By using the advantages of ontologies and ontology-based information systems in knowledge management and semantic reasoning, the method enables the investigation of the root cause of the related potential malfunctions in the early product design phase. The framework can provide warnings and root causes of related potential errors in design based on history data and further continuously improve the product design. In this manner, this method is expected to reduce the knowledge limitation of designers in the initial design phase, help designers consider the problems in the whole enterprise and the product life cycle more completely, facilitate design improvement more accurately and efficiently, and further reduce the cost of the overall product life cycle.

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