The capture of engineering design processes and associated knowledge has traditionally been extremely difficult due to the high overhead associated with current intrusive and time-consuming manual methods used in industry, usually involving interruption of the designer during the design task and relying on them to remember how a design solution was developed after the event. This paper presents novel research which demonstrates how the detailed logging and analysis of an individual designer's actions in a cable harness virtual reality (VR) design and manufacturing system permits automated design task analysis with process mapping. Based on prior research, which utilised user-logging to automatically analyse design activities and generate assembly plans, this work involves the automatic capture of extracted design knowledge embedded within the log files and subsequently represented using IDEF0 diagrams, DRed graphs, PSL, XML, annotated movie clips and storyboard representations. Using this design knowledge, an online help system has been demonstrated which helps users to carry out design tasks similar to those performed previously by expert users. This is triggered by monitoring the designer's actions and functions in real time and pushes knowledge and advice to the user which was captured from experts and subsequently formalised during earlier design sessions. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Cable harness design
- Design rationale and knowledge capture
- Design task analysis
- User logging
- Virtual reality