Towards Seamless Continuation of Knowledge in Product Lifecycle Management

The current ICT for manufacturing landscape is characterized by scattered data formats, tools and processes dedicated to different phases in the product lifecycle. Due to the diversity of tools and data formats, manufacturing struggles to cope with new trends in this area. What is clearly missing in the current ICT landscape for manufacturing is an integrated, holistic view on data about products to be manufactured, resources (including human resources) and processes across the full product lifecycle. There is a need to formalize knowledge for the automatic integration in existing engineering tools. In this work ontology-based semantics were exploited to develop machine-understandable models, which are able to understand the meaning of the data and information they contain. The system developed using semantic web methods and tools is designed to support interoperability and data integration, as well as lead a way towards the usage of information contained in the system to extract useful knowledge. This knowledge may provide feedback for improving the design of future generations of products. Thus, the concept of seamless continuation of knowledge all along product-system lifecycles is introduced.The first step of this work was to study the state-of-the-art in PLM and Semantic web Technologies. This included theoretical background in concepts like Beginning Of Life (BOL), Middle Of Life (MOL) and End Of Life (EOL) regarding PLM as well as the definition and theoretical background of Ontologies and Semantic Web Technologies. After completing the study of theoretical background, more advanced research concepts and methodologies for both domains were thoroughly analysed. Examples include Closed Loop Lifecycle Management (CL2M) for PLM and NEON Method-ology for Ontology engineering. The next logical step followed was to find and discover relevant standards like STEP for PLM and W3C standards for Ontologies and Semantic Web Technologies. The engineering aspect of this study imposed the review of available tools both for PLM and Ontology Engineering. Ontology development tools like Protégé, TopBraid composer and Anzo Ontology editor were studied. More advanced software solutions for applications of the semantic web were also studied. Examples include Anzo Enterprise and the Open Semantic Framework. Inspiration also came from previous European projects like EC FP6 Promise. The problem of discontinuation, even after an Ontology model is created, is evident in most of the applications studied as background of this work. Ontology models have to be exploitable and that requires a framework of which they can be part of. The research for successful implementations of ontology driven frameworks was imperative. At first, the open seman-tic framework (osf) was the software stack that came into focus. After being thoroughly studied, it proved difficult to deploy and maintain, for it had still many problematic areas with its configuration and required people with very ad-vanced software skills (both in programing and system configuration). Nevertheless, the examples of use are promis-ing and give many ideas for exploitation. This finding triggered the efforts towards the definition and application of the solution proposed in this work, which has the following characteristics. First and most important, the solution is easy to deploy and maintain, since it is targeting SMEs and large enterprises that want to test the capabilities of the proposed[...]


Related material