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Coloured graphs for assembly sequences generation applied to modular product ranges

Yan, Xiu and Robert, Aurelie and Gomes, Samuel (2012) Coloured graphs for assembly sequences generation applied to modular product ranges. Journal of Mechanical Design. ISSN 1050-0472 (In Press)

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Abstract

The Design For Assembly (DFA) approach can be applied to reduce production costs by an optimization of the assembly sequence of a product. DFA methods are mostly applied during the detailed design phase of the product design process. In early stages of this design process, and situated in a routine design context, we propose to couple modularity with DFA in a “High productive” way to generate modular product ranges respecting assembly constraints added to functional constraints. This approach is the opposite to traditional DFA applications that are performed on detailed products. Our global methodology generates modular product ranges, including various principles, but we only focus, in this paper, on the functional design and modular design aspects, based on the DFA principles, with our specific algorithm for providing ordered assembly sequences. Our algorithm is applied on a coloured directed graph, which models the precedence relationships between components and their assignments to technical functions. Partition of the Part-Part matrix and identification of specific patterns allow aggregating some components in modules. Based on this graph, a constraint satisfaction problem is solved to generate all the ordered assembly sequences. An experimental case study on a pneumatic scraper is presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the methodology. At the end of the case study, it is possible to obtain an assembly sequence, which is as consistent as possible with a modular architecture of the product.