This paper discusses the current limitations of Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools and reports on the use of knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) in the creation of a concept development tool, to organise information flow and as an architecture for the effective implementation of rapid design solutions. The KBE tool along with supporting analytical solutions has been applied to the Body-In-White area of automotive design. The present methods of using CAD and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) systems do not use a unified product/ process model representation and lead to the creation of separate non-relation data models that only capture the result of the engineering process. The KBE method unifies the engineering intent into a single model that allows for existing or novel design solutions to be assessed. These design solutions can then represent themselves in the correct form to the analysis systems. Automeshing is achieved using a rule-base that meshes the model with respect to the analysis solution required, materials and processes. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved
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