Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Engineering Computer Science

Major Professor

Les A. Piegl

Keywords

CAD incompatibility, CAD robustness, Data migration, Design intent exchange, NURBS Model exchange

Abstract

For many years, incompatible computer-aided design (CAD) packages that are based on Non-uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) technology carried out the exchange of models and data through either neutral file formats (IGES or STEP) or proprietary formats that have been accepted as quasi industry standards. Although it is the only available solution at the current time, the exchange process most often produces unsatisfactory results. Models that are impeccable in the original modeling system usually end up with gaps or intersections between surfaces on another incompatible system. Issues such as loss of information, change of data accuracy, inconsistent tolerance, and misinterpretation of the original design intent are a few examples of problems associated with migrating models between different CAD systems. While these issues and drawbacks are well known and cost the industry billions of dollars every year, a solution to eradicate problems from their sources has not been developed. Meanwhile, researchers along with the industries concerned with these issues have been trying to resolve such problems by finding means to repair the migrated models either manually or by using specialized software.

Designing in recent years is becoming more knowledge intensive and it is essential for NURBS to take its share of the ever increasing use of knowledge. NURBS are very powerful modeling tools and have become the de facto standard in modeling. If we stretch their strength and make them knowledge driven, benefits beyond current expectations can be achieved easily. This dissertation introduces knowledge guided NURBS with theoretical and practical foundations for supporting design intent capturing, retrieval, and exchange among dissimilar CAD systems. It shows that if NURBS entities are tagged with some knowledge, we can achieve seamless data exchange, increase robustness, and have more reliable computations, all of which are ultimate objectives many researchers in the field of CAD have been trying to accomplish for decades. Establishing relationships between a NURBS entity and its origin and destinations can aid with seamless CAD model migration. The type of the NURBS entity and the awareness of any irregularities can lead to more intelligent decisions on how to proceed with many computations to increase robustness and achieve a high level of reliability.

As a result, instead of having models that are hardly modifiable because of migrating raw numerical data in isolation, the knowledge driven migration process will produce models that are editable and preserve design intent. We have addressed the issues not only theoretically but also by developing a prototype system that can serve as a test bed. The developed system shows that a click of a button can regenerate a migrated model instead of repairing it, avoiding delay and corrective processes that only limit the effective use of such models.

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