In order to ensure quality of products and to facilitate global outsourcing, almost all\ud the so-called “world-class” manufacturing companies nowadays are applying various\ud tools and methods to maintain the consistency of a product’s characteristics\ud throughout its manufacturing life cycle. Among these, for ensuring the consistency of\ud the geometric characteristics, a tolerancing language − the Geometrical Product\ud Specification (GPS) has been widely adopted to precisely transform the functional\ud requirements from customers into manufactured workpieces expressed as tolerance\ud notes in technical drawings. Although commonly acknowledged by industrial users as\ud one of the most successful efforts in integrating existing manufacturing life-cycle\ud standards, current GPS implementations and software packages suffer from several\ud drawbacks in their practical use, possibly the most significant, the difficulties in\ud inferring the data for the “best” solutions. The problem stemmed from the foundation\ud of data structures and knowledge-based system design. This indicates that there need\ud to be a “new” software system to facilitate GPS applications.\ud The presented thesis introduced an innovative knowledge-based system − the\ud VirtualGPS − that provides an integrated GPS knowledge platform based on a stable\ud and efficient database structure with knowledge generation and accessing facilities.\ud The system focuses on solving the intrinsic product design and production problems\ud by acting as a virtual domain expert through translating GPS standards and rules into\ud the forms of computerized expert advices and warnings. Furthermore, this system can\ud be used as a training tool for young and new engineers to understand the huge amount\ud of GPS standards in a relative “quicker” manner.\ud The thesis started with a detailed discussion of the proposed categorical modelling\ud mechanism, which has been devised based on the Category Theory. It provided a\ud unified mechanism for knowledge acquisition and representation, knowledge-based\ud system design, and database schema modelling. As a core part for assessing this\ud knowledge-based system, the implementation of the categorical Database\ud Management System (DBMS) is also presented in this thesis. The focus then moved\ud on to demonstrate the design and implementation of the proposed VirtualGPS system.\ud The tests and evaluations of this system were illustrated in Chapter 6. Finally, the\ud thesis summarized the contributions to knowledge in Chapter 7.\ud After thoroughly reviewing the project, the conclusions reached construe that the\ud III\ud entire VirtualGPS system was designed and implemented to conform to Category\ud Theory and object-oriented programming rules. The initial tests and performance\ud analyses show that the system facilitates the geometric product manufacturing\ud operations and benefits the manufacturers and engineers alike from function designs,\ud to a manufacturing and verification
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