Kintner, Hallie J. 2008. "Representation and analysis challenges in design for part re-use: An automotive case study." Proceedings of the Asme International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference 2007, :611-619.
Product Platform and Product Family Design is reshaping the way that many companies develop products. But how well are the CAD and PLM technologies keeping pace with this advancement? This paper presents data from a three month ethnographic study of an expert automotive body engineer. His assignment is to modify the design of an existing body structural member for use in the next-generation vehicle. The modification was necessitated by manufacturability issues. Observations and subsequent interviews revealed that manipulation time, model reuse and representation of part interfaces (such as welds) presented challenges to the body engineer and collaborating analysis engineers. Despite re-use of a physical part, the engineer had to create a new CAD model. The redesign involved breaking the original part into two pieces. The engineer sketched initial design concepts on paper because manipulation time in the CAD system was so lengthy. After determining the design concept, the engineer created a new CAD model, including new weld locations, and passed it along to analysis engineers for stiffness and crashworthiness FEA testing. Hand-offs between design and analysis engineers were challenged by the PLM system. The paper ends by making recommendations for improving CAD and PLM tools.