Keywords: integration, concurrency, manufacturing, product development
Philosophies for integrated product development
Integrated product development occurs when the different disciplines in an enterprise, whether real or virtual, collaborate to design and produce parts. This paper presents a concept and architecture for an Integrated Tele-Cooperative Manufacturing (ITCM) environment. The ITCM concept is a new approach to product development, where parallel interactions among the various disciplines in an enterprise, such as marketing, business, design and production, are organised to establish a time-ordered application of people, methods and tools. This would ensure a thorough understanding of the product and process information that can be shared by all members of the product development team. The ITCM architecture is a new infrastructure that handles heterogeneous data, and integrates software applications using web servers, databases, document conferencing software, operating systems and integration utilities. It consists of a resource manager, a supervisory manager and a database manager who work together to enable concurrent multi-user and multi-application interactions. The ITCM concept and architecture will allow cooperation by people, resources and applications who are geographically distributed to work concurrently on a shared database of the design to produce a part successfully. A pilot ITCM scheme is planned in the Singapore context. It is a joint project with industry and a research institute.