, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 1545-1558
Date: 18 Sep 2010

An information system to support the engineering designer

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Engineering companies are currently shifting their focus from selling products to providing services, hence the products’ designers must increasingly consider life-cycle requirements, in addition to conventional design parameters. To identify possible areas of concern, engineers must consider knowledge throughout the life cycle of similar or related products. However, because of the size and distributed nature of a company’s operation, engineers often do not have access to front-line maintenance data. In addition, the large number of documents generated during the design and operation of a product makes it impractical to manually review all documents thoroughly during a task. As a case study, this paper discusses the concept and development of a large hypermedia based Knowledge Desktop that has been developed to support the maintenance and future design of aircraft engines. As part of the development cycle, the performance of the software and its acceptance by the user community has been fully evaluated. The evaluation method considered in this paper focuses on the subjective opinion of the users and measures the ease with which users could retrieve the information required to perform specific tasks.