Integration of Process Knowledge into Design Support Systems
Design is a fundamental creative human activity. This certainly applies to the design of artefacts, the realisation of which has to meet many constraints and ever raising criteria. The world in which we live today, is enormously influenced by the human race. Over the last century, these artefacts have dramatically changed the living conditions of humans. The present wealth in very large parts of the world, depends on it. All the ideas for better and new artefacts brought forward by humans have gone through the minds of designers, who have turned them into feasible concepts and subsequently transformed them into realistic product models. The designers have been, still are, and will remain the leading 'change agents' in the physical world. Manufacturability of artefacts has always played a significant role in design. In pre industrial manufacturing, the blacksmith held the many design and realisation aspects of a product in one hand. The synthesis of the design and manufacturing aspects took, almost implicitly, place in the head of the man. All the knowledge and the skills were stored in one person. Education and training took place along the line of many years of apprenticeship. When the production volumes increased, -'assembling to measure' was no longer tolerated and production efficiency became essential - design, process planning, production planning and fabrication became separated concerns. The designers created their own world, separated from the production world. They argued that restrictions in the freedom of designing would badly influence their creativity in design.