Parametric strategies for design automation and optimization can have a big impact on engineering design. When parametric tasks and optimization frameworks and methods are combined, theses strategies can be used to make up what is known as a multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) schema. Knowledge of a design space can be modeled by using a MDO schema to represent the design process. However, current MDO frameworks used to create this schema lack the scope to capture enterprise wide knowledge for reuse and collaboration. Concurrent with the development of MDO, many companies are moving toward increased use of product lifecycle management (PLM). More applications are being integrated into PLM as its usage increases; however, it has not to date been able to fully embrace the sophisticated knowledge model demands of engineering design. It has functioned primarily as a data storage and electronic email and tracking system. This thesis proposes to integrate an MDO knowledge representation in the form of a design space model with a PLM system to provide knowledge management for the product design process throughout the enterprise. In this thesis a solution has been developed by leveraging PLM workflow management, and parametric PLM strategies. The PLM workflow management module was customized with action handlers, adding the ability to automate engineering tasks such as updating models and performing analysis. An optimization action handler was also added that iterates design processes by duplicating the entire workflow job and initiating it with updated inputs in order to explore and improve the design. This thesis proposes a new approach to PLM and MDO framework usage that enables the complete representation of a design space with absolute, enterprise wide reuse. Because of the synergy that is created between PLM and MDO through this approach, both software providers and users in industry are looking at it as a way to achieve their greatest challenges. This thesis achieves the common knowledge representation that industry has been actively pursuing, because of this industry leaders have been impressed and believe that this approach will quickly take hold and usher in a new era for product design.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





PLM, MDO, knowledge base engineering, optimization