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A Core Product Model for Representing Design Information



Steven J. Fenves


The report presents a core model for representing design information, motivated by the perceived needs of next-generation product development systems and drawing content-level requirements from a related study of design information flows. The core model was synthesized from a comparison of several independently-developed design artifact representations. The primary objective of the report is to provide a base-level product model that is: not tied to any vendor software; open; non-proprietary; simple; generic; expandable; independent of any one product development process; and capable of capturing the engineering context that is most commonly shared in product development activities. The core model focuses on artifact representation including function, form, behavior and material, physical and functional decompositions, and relationships among these concepts. The model is heavily influenced by the Entity-Relationship data model; accordingly, it consists of two sets of classes, called object and relationship, equivalent to the UML class and association class, respectively. It is expected that the core model may eventually serve as a precursor for STEP in the lifecycle of a product, capturing all information relevant to the ongoing design process until the product design is firmed up, approved and committed to purchasing or manufacturing. Aspects of extensions of the model in these directions are discussed.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6736
Report Number


artifact, behavior, data modeling, Entity-Relationship data model, form, function, information modeling, Keywords: product modeling, next-generation product development tools


Fenves, S. (2002), A Core Product Model for Representing Design Information, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 17, 2024)


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Created October 1, 2002, Updated November 10, 2018