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Conserving Corporate Knowledge for Crankshaft Design

Otto Kühn; Björn Höfling
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 94-08, 1994.


A company's technical know-how which constitutes one of its most important assets often exists only in the heads of a small number of human experts. This limits the availability of this crucial resource and puts considerable strain on the respective experts. In cooperation with a German company which produces motor-powered tools and vehicles, a prototypical knowledge conservation system was developed which captures an individual expert's know-how about the design of crankshafts and makes it available to the whole design team. (The company wishes not to be named in this publication in order to not provide hints to competitors. For the same reason, the examples given in this paper had to be slightly modified.) The knowledge-based system provides explanations of previous designs and supports unexperienced designers by suggesting viable alternatives. By checking the consistency between new cases and previously stated general design constraints, the system supports a continuous evolution of the stored knowledge which thus always reflects the current state of a company's technical know-how.