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Proposed Methodology. Context knowledge. Context knowledge. Context knowledge. Product Development Tasks. Manuf-acturing. Concept design. Service. …. …. …. …. Standard ICT tools. Context specific filters. Unified design knowledge. Unified service knowledge.

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Project Aim

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Proposed Methodology

Context knowledge

Context knowledge

Context knowledge










Standard ICT tools

Context specific filters

Unified design knowledge

Unified service knowledge

Unified manuf. knowledge

Unification of Design, Manufacturing Capability and Service Knowledge in Collaborative Product Development

Project Aim

To develop unified methodologies and context specific knowledge management filters to capture, represent, and reuse manufacturing engineering knowledge, feature-based design knowledge, manufacturing capability knowledge and product service knowledge to support product development in a collaborative enterprise context.


The scope of the proposed research project is the design and manufacture of complex engineered products with high performance and safety critical service requirements. The methodologies will be applied and evaluated for high-added value rotational parts.


Propose a process-based knowledge management framework to support collaborative product development

Develop unified methodologies to represent the feature based design knowledge which embraces design rules and previous project and product knowledge

Develop unified methodologies to represent manufacturing capability knowledge, including best manufacturing methods, process capability and test data

Develop unified methodologies to represent product service knowledge, including customer requirements, feedback, and suggestions, product in-service performance and failures

Develop a ‘proof of concept’ pilot system for evaluation with the industrial collaborators and disseminate the results of the research to academics and industrialists.

Research Fellow:

David Baxter

PhD student:

Sara Mountney

Industrial Relevance and Partners

The methodologies developed will be applicable to a range of manufacturing companies, with particular relevance to large companies operating in high performance safety critical environments.

The industrial partners: Rolls-Royce and BOC Edwards.


Prof James Gao (

Prof Raj Roy (

distributed collaborative product development and manufacturing knowledge management

Automotive door latch model

Distributed & Collaborative Product Development and Manufacturing Knowledge Management

Project Achievements

(1) A collaborative product development and knowledge management methodology (employing peer-to-peer methodology);

(2) Implanted STEP standards to represent features mapped with knowledge based system ontologies;

(3) A pilot environment for managing design knowledge for rough-cut manufacturing planning and integration with resource planning tools; and

(4) Business workflow developed for ArvinMeritor.

Project Aim and Objectives

The aim of this project is to investigate methods for the effective management of the internet-based process of communicating new product requirements and manufacturing performance evaluations from the critical, early stages of product development throughout the product life cycle. Main project objectives are to

assess state-of-the-art PDM and Internet supporting technologies with respect to the effective communication of early requirements, workflow control and change management within a distributed and collaborative product development environment;

investigate techniques for translating early design concepts into appropriate, tentative product configurations that are essential for conceptualizing and measuring the manufacturing performance;

enhance the aggregate factory modelling work by including matrix based capability analysis techniques for capturing and representing manufacturing knowledge; and

evaluate the potential industrial benefits by testing the developed methods using data provided by the collaborating companies and disseminate research results.

Industrial Relevance and Partners

The methodologies developed can be applied to any manufacturing companies especially those with international operations. The project collaborators are ArvinMeritor, Maybey & Johnson, LSC Group, PTC, and University of Durham.

STEP ontology developed




Principal Investigator:

Prof James Gao

Researcher: Hayder Aziz


Input Knowledge

Output Knowledge

What knowledge?

What knowledge?

From which processes/tasks?

Used by which processes/tasks?

Process Task

From whom (role)?

To whom (role)?







Facilitation of Knowledge Sharing in the Product Innovation Process

Project Aim and Objectives

This project aims to facilitate the sharing of innovation process knowledge in the multi-lingual manufacturing organisation. Main objectives are:

1. Identification, classification and prioritisation of knowledge in the innovation process

2. Provision of a methodology to construct a multilingual ontology of relevant innovation process knowledge

3. Construction of an innovation process ontology as an illustrative case

4. Enabling of the visualisation and dissemination of this knowledge as a proof of concept

Project Deliverables

1. A methodology to identify, classify and prioritise innovation process knowledge.

2. A methodology to construct an ontology of the innovation process knowledge

3. An ontology of innovation process knowledge

4. A set of tools to enable the visualisation and dissemination of this ontology

Industrial Collaboration and Wider Relevance

The key industrial collaborator is the Vaillant Group, a market leading manufacturer of domestic heating systems. It is anticipated that the research findings will be more applicable to multinational manufacturers of electromechanical goods with similarly detailed descriptions of their product development process.

Project supervisor:

Prof James Gao

Research Student:

Daniel Bradfield

Industry Project Manager: Mr. John Finegan (Vaillant Group)


A PDM-Integrated Assembly Planning Environment for Automotive Suppliers Industry

  • Project Objectives
  • Domain : component-based electromechanical assemblies
  • Provide process & sequence selection
  • Support low-level concurrent product development
  • Provide data control methodologies
  • Provide portable, easy to use applications
  • Integrate those applications within the CAE environment
  • Support automation of routine tasks

Project Aim

The objective of this work is to provide tools which address the real requirements of assembly-focused industry

Industrial Spondors:

Meritor, and British Aerospace


William Bowland


Dr James Gao


A Manufacturing Evaluation System To Support Progressive Design Incorporating STEP AP224

  • Motivation
  • 70-80% of product cost is committed during the design stage.
  • 60-80% of new design is based on design re-use.
  • Product must be designed to fit the factory/ process and not vice versa.
  • Integrating the process capability knowledge and design analysis knowledge with the design and development environment can help improve quality.
  • Main Outcome
  • Practical usable system.
  • Based on sound methodology and detailed domain research.
  • Usefulness demonstrated and highly appreciated by collaborating partners.
  • Forms important part of a £500,000/- project scheduled to go live shortly to reduce RN spares level using STEP technology. Projected savings from reduction in stock levels is £2,000,000.
  • Spin-offs….Automatic Part Codification, NC integration with EdgeCAM/ GraphCAM

Industrial Spondors:

LSC Group


Rohit Sharma


Dr James Gao

Logic Desiner

knowledge representation and reuse for predictive design and manufacturing evaluation

System Architecture

Knowledge Representation and Reuse for Predictive Design and Manufacturing Evaluation

  • Project Aims
  • Enable engineering organisations to rapidly create product variants that meet similar functional requirements
  • Develop a methodology that supports capture and reuse of design and manufacturing knowledge
  • Enable design data sharing for communication among team members via a common platform
  • Objectives
  • Develop new methodologies for the capture and representation of design knowledge
  • Integrate design and manufacturing knowledge into the collaborative design environment
  • Test and refine the developed methodologies with the collaborating companies
  • Industrial Relevance and Partners
  • The methodologies developed will be applicable to a range of manufacturing companies, with particular relevance to large companies operating in mature environments. The project collaborators are ArvinMeritor, Rolls-Royce, BOC Edwards, PTC, and the University of Loughborough.

Research assistant:

David Baxter



Prof James Gao