Zhang Wei-Hua*, TAN Jian-Rong*, FENG Yi-Xiong*, CHE Jun-Hua*
*State Key Laboratory of CAD&CG, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Keywords: collaborative design; product data management; data sharing; information sharing; large-scale equipment
After analyzing the requirement of large-scale equipment installation, both the functions and the faults of asynchronous collaborative design system and synchronous collaborative design system were discussed. And then, a combined collaborative design platform, which combined the product data management system with the synchronous collaborative design system, was proposed. A framework for the combined collaborative design platform was put forward. The product data management system and the synchronous collaborative design system were discussed in detail. And then, the strategies for sharing and exchanging of product data and information were presented. Detailed operation steps of the combined collaborative platform were described. Finally presented was a case study that using the combined collaborative design platform in electric dust collector installation.
For large-scale equipment, the process of design, production and installation depends on the collaboration of geographically-distributed workgroups. Because of the complexity of larger-scale equipment, some problems cannot be found in the process of design until the product is installed. Installation person will turn to the designers for help when the problem cannot be solved by those who are at the installation site. There are some traditional ways that the installation person can communicate with the designer, such as using telephone, fax, e-mail etc. Misunderstandings are easy arisen and the delivery period is often delayed since the low efficiency of solving the problems through the traditional ways. In order to enhance efficiency and shorten the lead time of period in network environment, a collaboration platform, that enables the sharing of product data and information among geographically-distributed work group members, is very necessary to be created.
Computer Supported Collaborative Design (CSCD) is an emerging area, which focuses on suitable forms of cooperation between designers or a group of designers to perform a common task . It is an important part of networked manufacturing, and it includes two types: asynchronous collaborative design and synchronous collaborative design. Scholar have made a lot of research on the two types and established corresponding models. Asynchronous collaborative design system enables geographically-distributed users to collaborate through an integrated and distributed platform that can manage the product data effectively, such as a product data management system. However, the asynchronous collaborative design system cannot be satisfied by the users who want to have a face-to-face-like collaboration on networked computer system [2,4]. Synchronous collaborative design system enables collaborators to work in a shared workspace at the same time. Each can receive the feedback information coming from others right after his operation [5,8]. However, product data can not be effectively managed by the system. Besides, at present, most synchronous collaborative design system tends to be independent and closed . When a new application is acquired or developed it is often not possible to use it with existing system. As a result, neither the asynchronous collaborative design system nor the synchronous collaborative design system can meet the requirements for a collaborative design platform for large-scale equipment installation.
This research aims at constructing a combined collaborative design platform that combines asynchronous collaborative design system (product data management system) with synchronous collaborative design system to support distributed collaboration effectively