Much attention has been given to parts hierarchical classification, coding and retrieval systems. Much work has been carried out in the retrieval of design images that are similar to the candidate image from the database. However, little has been said or done when it comes to using Group Technology (GT) techniques for the classification, coding and identification of products that are similar by searching through the database using a wide variety of search parameters, especially of mechanically oriented products in a manufacturing environment. This paper presents a method of using the GT to classifying, coding and retrieving of identical or similar products from a database for the purposes of Customer-Led Design, based on the principle of Group Technology classification and coding. The proposed method is based on a hybrid (Chain-Hierarchical type) classification system using a wide range of product parameters. The search and sorting procedure uses the weight factor and similarity index (SI) methods for the identification of similar products. This method generates a list of product codes for the similar products, and ranks the Product Attributes according to their priority vector. The method is successfully implemented in a new Customer-led Design (CLD) environment.

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