New business models and more integrated product development processes require designers to make use of knowledge more efficiently. Capture and reuse are means of coping, but support, techniques, and mechanisms have yet to be sufficiently addressed. This paper consequently explores how computer-aided technologies (CAx) and a computer-aided design (CAD) model-oriented approach can be used to improve the efficiency of design module capture and representation for product family reuse. The first contribution of this paper is the investigation performed at a Swedish manufacturing company and a set of identified challenges related to design capture and representation for reuse in product family development. The second contribution is a demonstrated and evaluated set of systems and tools, which exemplifies how these challenges can be approached. Efficient design capture is achieved by a combination of automated and simplified design capture, derived from the design implementation (CAD model definition) to the extent possible. Different design representations can then be accessed by the designer using the CAD-internal tool interface. A web application is an example of more general-purpose representation to tailor design content, all of which is managed by a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. Design capture is based on a modular view block definition, stored in formal information models, management by a PLM system, for consistent and reliable design content. It was, however, introduced to support the rich and expressive forms of capture and representation required to facilitate understanding, use, and reuse of varied and increasingly complex designs. A key element in being able to describe a complex design and its implementation has been capture and representation of a set of design states. The solution has been demonstrated to effectively be able to capture and represent significant portions of a step-by-step design training material and the implementation of complex design module through a set of design decisions taken. The validity and relevance of the proposed solution is strengthened by the level of acceptance and perceived value from experienced users, together with the fact that the company is implementing parts of it today.

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