Configuration Tree Solver: A Technology for Automated Design and Configuration

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Kott, G. Agin

Carnegie Group, Inc., Five PPG Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

D. Fawcett

Electronics Division, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI 48121

J. Mech. Des 114(1), 187-195 (Mar 01, 1992) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2916915 History: Received March 01, 1991; Online June 02, 2008


Configuration is a process of generating a definitive description of a product that satisfies a set of specified requirements and known constraints. Knowledge-based technology is an important factor in automation of configuration tasks found in mechanical design. In this paper, we describe a configuration technique that is well suited for configuring “decomposable” artifacts with reasonably well defined structure and constraints. This technique may be classified as a member of a general class of decompositional approaches to configuration. The domain knowledge is structured as a general model of the artifact, an and-or hierarchy of the artifact’s elements, features, and characteristics. The model includes constraints and local specialists which are attached to the elements of the and-or tree. Given the specific configuration requirements, the problem solving engine searches for a solution, a subtree, that satisfies the requirements and the applicable constraints. We describe an application of this approach that performs configuration and design of an automotive component.

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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