The majority of engineering failures occur because of surface initiated effects such as wear, corrosion and fatigue. Surface treatment/coatings (T/C) offer the potential to prevent failure and often to reduce cost. T/C selection is an important part of design for manufacture (DFM) spectrum and has been a very elusive activity to formalize. With the advent of knowledge‐based systems, provision of T/C selection assistance to the designer early on in the design process has become a practical reality. Reports the development of the TESS (Tribologically Engineered Surface Selection) expert system, which is concerned with the field of Surface T/C and their selection for optimum engineering design solutions. Introduces the T/C selection methodology and also describes the system developed. A logic‐based AI language, Prolog, has been used for the system development and versions of the system have been developed to run on the workstation and PC platforms. The initial work on the system was carried out with SERC support. Further developments are under way in this and other related design for manufacturability areas in this integrated design decision support approach.
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