A strategic approach to improve the development of use-oriented knowledge-based engineering configurators (KBEC)

Eike Schäffer*, Sara Shafiee, Andreas Mayr, Jörg Franke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The high complexity of today’s automation solutions often raises integration costs to an uneconomic level, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. Analyzing the total costs of automation solutions, engineering efforts account for the largest share. However, potentials for time and cost savings as well as quality improvements by reusing existing engineering knowledge are usually not exploited in industrial practice. In this context, knowledge-based configurators are the most popular expert systems and present an opportunity to automate the creation of customer-specific automation solutions. Especially for efficient knowledge reuse, constraint-based configurators seem suitable. However, existing methods for developing configurators focus on product configurators rather than on knowledge-based engineering configurators (KBEC). In addition, the necessary knowledge acquisition (KA) is still one of the major challenges in developing KBECs. Open fields of action include the definition of the optimal functional scope as well as the identification, prioritization, and selection of suitable knowledge sources. Another prerequisite represents the transparency of existing engineering processes and interests of all affected stakeholders. Therefore, this paper introduces a six-step approach enabling the development of use-oriented KBECs with the minimum required functional scope to reduce efforts for KA and thus overall development costs. Finally, the strategic approach is validated using the example of a KBEC for the concept planning of robot-based automation solutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProcedia CIRP
    Pages (from-to)219-224
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    Event8th CIRP Global Web Conference: Flexible Mass Customization - Online
    Duration: 14 Oct 202016 Oct 2020
    Conference number: 8


    Conference8th CIRP Global Web Conference


    • Configurator
    • Knowledge-based
    • Constraint-based
    • Knowledge acquisition
    • KBEC
    • Engineering
    • Division of labor
    • Planning
    • Automation
    • Robot


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