A new automated system (called SOUSO for design optimisation of a mechanical assembly has been developed. SOUSC stands for System Optimisation Using Standard Components. Based on a given layout of the assembly's components, the assembly is able to organise the design process of the assembly, collate useful information for each component's design optimisation and general design data management. In this work, the SOUSC concept has been illustrated by means of a gearbox model. To enable the system to recognise the needs and outputs of the individual component, a standardised procedure has been established for the modelling of the components and their design optimisation routine. Standard component data, as found in manufacturers' catalogues has been organised and incorporated to form part of the design constraints. The need to achieve efficient management of both the standard component data and the data arising from the design of a mechanical assembly has resulted in the development of a database management system package, TEKDEMS. TEKDBMS offers certain facilities necessary in the design process of a mechanical assembly which are not found in commercially available database management systems. The dynamic programming technique for optimisation has been employed. Coupled with the strategy of decomposition, the assembly is broken up into a series of interdependent stages and the principle of returns applied recursively. This technique has been found to be a useful and suitable method as it fitted in with the desired feature of flexibility in design optimisation of mechanical assemblies.
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