Product lifecycle management is an important aspect of todays industry, as it serves to facilitate information exchange and management between most, if not all, stages of a products existence. As exchanged product information is inevitably subjected to multiple transformations and derivations, information transparency between lifecycle stages can be difficult to achieve. Synthesizing representations of product information across the lifecycle, by creating a lifecycle-stage independent platform, can provide transparent access to information for both upstream and downstream applications. In this paper, we review previous and ongoing efforts to use ontologies as a means to support information integration and interoperability throughout the lifecycle of a product. We discuss how existing efforts can be leveraged to create a unified model of product information across the lifecycle. The proposed model, the Product Lifecycle Upper Tiered Ontology (PLUTO), would support the synthesis of product information across the lifecycle, improving access to this information and facilitating lifecycle thinking. In exploring the concept of PLUTO, we discuss the use of ontologies as a means to create and link paradigm-independent representations. We discuss the translations product information may face when integrated through ontologies, and the extent to which the integrity of the information can be preserved across the lifecycle. We then discuss the applications of a unified product model, and the advantages offered by increased transparency and interoperability. Finally, we discuss how to leverage the PLUTO model to support lifecycle thinking in terms of sustainable impact.
Proceedings Title: Proceedings of the ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition
Conference Dates: November 15-21, 2013
Conference Location: San Diego, CA
Pub Type: Conferences
PLM, product standard, ontology, semantic web, lifecycle, sustainable manufacturing