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Verification and spatial clearance of features in a product modelling environment

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In features based design systems that are underpinned by solid models, buildings are designed by applying features to the design domain. A feature may be translated and/or rotated in order to position it in the desired place. Contradiction between the applied features and resulting features may occur due to the features interaction, wrong positioning, or inadequate parameters supplied by the user during the product definition. Moreover, the application of other features may cause some features to degenerate to further features. Therefore, verification of the resulting features must be performed against the applied features to establish whether the resulting features conform to the underlying geometry. Current feature-based design systems employ a mechanism of tagging feature labels onto geometry. This approach does not guarantee the geometric correctness of the resultant feature and knowledge of the topology of the resulting feature and a geometric analysis is necessary to correctly identify the validity of the resultant feature.

The research reported in this paper proposes an alternative approach which uses a product model that permits all geometrical and technological information associated with the design and construction stages to be represented. Individual features can be extracted from the product model and analysed to determine their accessibility. Methods which use the product description and other construction data to determine feature validity, accessibility and machinability are used. Each volumetric feature corresponds to a solid that can be added by one or more construction process or removed by one or more machining operations; as a consequence of applying volumetric features, surface features are generated. These surface features provide enough information to enable the accessibility, and machinability of the individual features to be determined and establish the possible routes in which the feature can be accessed if any.

Keywords: design; features; integration; product model; solid modelling; spatial clearance; verification

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Business Information Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University, U

Publication date: March 1, 2001


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