Product data management (PDM) systems have been successfully applied to maintain product-related information as well as to integrate different applications for design, process and manufacturing throughout the product life cycle. However, the issues on how to use the PDM system to enable design automation have not been adequately addressed. This paper proposed a framework to enable product design automation by employing the web-based PDM system and the Computer-aided Design (CAD) platform. The components of the framework include a feature-based parametric template module, 3D and 2D auto-generation modules, a web-based PDM system, and the data communication protocol between PDM and CAD platform. The features and relations for product families can be defined with the parametric module. 3D and 2D modules help to auto generate the solid and 2D drawings based on the features and relations of the product. The web-based PDM system provides the easy access for designer to create or edit or store the product feature information, and manage the workflow process. The illustrating example demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of this proposed framework for design automation.

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