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An expert system for automatic design‐for‐assembly

David Sanders (Systems Engineering Research Group, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Yong Chai Tan (Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Ian Rogers (MotionTouch Ltd, Cranleigh, UK)
Giles E. Tewkesbury (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




The purpose of this paper is to present a multi‐expert system that can provide designers with suggestions for improvement. The multi‐expert system can analyse a design and provide designers with ideas for changes to designs at an early stage in order to improve assembly later in the manufacturing process.


The whole system consists of four expert systems: computer‐aided design (CAD) expert, automated assembly expert, manual assembly expert and design analysis expert. The design analysis expert includes a sub‐system to collate the information from the assembly experts and to provide costs and advice.


The paper finds that the approach and the systems can reduce manufacturing costs and lead times.

Research limitations/implications

A knowledge‐based reckoning approach to design‐for‐assembly automation is used. The approach and systems can reduce manufacturing costs and lead times. The system can estimate assembly time and cost for manual or automatic assembly and select suitable assembly techniques.

Practical implications

The system can estimate assembly time and cost for manual or automatic assembly and select a suitable assembly technique.


The new system models assembly, product and process design using a natural approach for capturing intelligence. The new approach categorised automated assembly and manual assembly into separate individual experts. Intelligence and knowledge from each is captured and embedded within the individual expert that represented the process. This approach enabled greater flexibility and made the sub‐systems easier to modify, upgrade, extend and reuse.



Sanders, D., Chai Tan, Y., Rogers, I. and Tewkesbury, G.E. (2009), "An expert system for automatic design‐for‐assembly", Assembly Automation, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 378-388.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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