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A shortest path method for sequential change propagations in complex engineering design processes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 June 2015

Yuliang Li*
State Key Lab of CAD&CG, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Wei Zhao
Department of Foreign Language, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou, China
Yongsheng Ma
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Reprint requests to: Yuliang Li, State Key Lab of CAD&CG, Zhejiang University, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 310027, China. E-mail:


Engineering design changes constantly occur in complex engineering design processes. Designers need appropriate measures to handle the numerous design changes in order to realize consistent and completely validated product models so that successful product development is assured. In this paper, a time-based mathematic model is presented to characterize the sequential change propagation process, and then the shortest path algorithm is given to find the most timesaving routes for changes to propagate to other dependent design tasks. An analysis method is introduced to compute the sensitivities of change impacts on the affected design tasks, which indicates that the more time consumed by a change to take its effect, the more sensitive the change impacts on those downstream dependent tasks. A case study of change propagations in motorcycle engine design process was presented to demonstrate the proposed method.

Regular Articles
AI EDAM , Volume 30 , Issue 1 , February 2016 , pp. 107 - 121
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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