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Preliminary Design and Manufacturing Planning Integration Using Web-Based Intelligent Agents



Shaw C. Feng


Software agents have been increasingly used in the product and process development in industry over the past years due to the rapid evolvement of the Internet technology. This paper describes agents for the integration of conceptual design and process planning. Agents provide mechanisms to interact with each other. This mechanism is important since both of those processes involve negotiations for optimization. A set of design and planning software agents has been developed. These agents are used in a computer-based collaborative environment, called a multi-agent platform. The main purpose of developing such a platform is to support product preliminary design, optimize product form and structure, and reduce the manufacturing cost in the early design stage. The agents on the platform have access to a knowledge base that contains design and planning rules. These rules are derived from an analysis of design factors that influence process and resource planning, such as product material, form, shape complexity, features, dimension, tolerance, surface condition, production volume, and production rate. These rules are used by process planning agents to provide process planners with information regarding selecting preliminary manufacturing processes, determining manufacturing resources, and constructing feedback information to product designers. Additionally, the agents communicate with WEB servers, and they are accessible by users through Internet browsers. During performing design and planning tasks, agents access the data pertinent to design and manufacturing processes by the programming interfaces of existing computer-aided design and manufacturing system. The agents are supported by a developed prototype agent platform. The agents and the platform enable the information exchange among agents, based on a previously developed integrated design and manufacturing process object model.
Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing


Conceptual design, Intelligent agents, Manufacturing agents, Process planning, Systems integration


Feng, S. (2006), Preliminary Design and Manufacturing Planning Integration Using Web-Based Intelligent Agents, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created January 1, 2006, Updated February 17, 2017