Collaborative machine tool design environment based on semantic Wiki technology
This paper presents a light-weight collaboration environment for the conceptual design of machine tools. For the design of specialized machine tools and their components, machine designers, customers and suppliers need to gather, retrieve and exchange heterogeneous information like customer requirements, component specifications, design drawings and life-cycle performance data. This knowledge management process can be supported by collaboration tools. Since the European machine tool industry is dominated by SMEs and machine tools are mostly manufactured in small series, light-weight and flexible solutions are required. The collaboration environment proposed in this work is built on the Semantic MediaWiki+ (SMW+) solution, which enhances a regular MediaWiki system with the capabilities of semantic annotations and semantic queries. To facilitate the semantic annotation, the design environment is equipped with ontologies, which represent relevant concepts, attributes, relations and rules in the machine tool design domain. In addition, a rich web application as an extension to SMW+ is developed, which leads the designer through the steps of a machine design project. The environment supports the retrieval and re-use of information from previous design projects, the use of lifecycle performance data of machines, the knowledge exchange among designers and the data exchange to commercial-off-the-shelf assessment and simulation tools.