Compatibility issues for mechanical system modelling with standard components

B J Hicks, S J Culley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)


The success of a product and ultimately the associated company are largely dependent on the ability of the company to generate effective, high-quality and economical design solutions within shortened development times. To achieve increased quality and considerable time savings, standard components can be utilized. In order to establish a suitable solution the designer must evaluate various component types, sizes and combinations until the desired performance capabilities for the design are achieved. However, further improvements in economy and performance can be obtained by the effective utilization of various configurations of standard components. During this phase of evaluation, the designer must consider not only system performance but also component issues such as reliability, suppliers, cost, maintenance and internal practices. The pressure for reduced time to market does not leave room for time-consuming trial-and-error approaches. Today, experimentally validated computer modelling has become the preferred choice for rapidly carrying out the assessment of performance and the evaluation of design alternatives. In using such techniques the designer also demands the capability to assess whether the connected components are suitable both quantitatively and qualitatively. The quantitative issues relate to whether the components are physically connectible and matched in terms of their performance capabilities, while the qualitative issues relate to the utilization of the component or a sequence of components. These may include preferences for suppliers, cost considerations, reliability issues, recommended component combinations and internal practices. These two aspects of the embodiment process are defined as compatibility analysis in this work. This paper outlines the process for the embodiment of mechanical systems with standard components and identifies the key aspects of compatibility analysis. Following this, the importance of and the requirements for compatibility analysis in modelling mechanical systems are discussed and a strategy to support compatibility analysis within a modelling environment is proposed. This strategy is implemented into an existing system modelling tool and an example study is included to illustrate the benefits to the designer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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