Identifying Part Commonalities in a Manufacturing Company Database
Manufacturing companies that produce and assemble multiple products rely on databases containing thousands or even millions of parts. These databases are expensive to support, maintain and the inherent complexity does not allow end users to utilize fully such databases. Designers and engineers are often not able to find previously created parts, which they could potentially reuse, and they add one more part to the database. Engineered improvements without removal of the previous version of the component also cause the avoidable increase of elements in the database. Reuse of parts or planned development of common parts across products brings many benefits for manufacturers. Search algorithm utilized across part databases and varying projects allows identifying similar parts. The goal is to compare part names and attributes resulting in the assignment of a similarity score. Determining common and differentiating part attributes and characteristics between pairs of components allows nominating parts that can become shared in different products. The case study utilizes an industrial example to evaluate and assess the feasibility of the proposed method for identifying commonality opportunities. It turned out that it is possible to find many parts that can be potentially shared between different products. (original abstract)
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