Matt Bohm, of Carthage, Mo., a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, recently received a Distinguished Paper award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his research into streamlining the way product designers search for design information.
Bohm’s paper, "Enhancing Virtual Product Representations for Advanced Design Repositories," beat out more than 180 papers for the award. Bohm, lead author of the paper, was joined by co-authors Dr. Rob Stone, associate professor of basic engineering at UMR and Bohm’s adviser, and Dr. Simon Szykman, a collaborating researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.
Bohm accepted the award during the 2003 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, held Sept. 2-6 in Chicago, Ill.
Product designers increasingly need access to a breadth of information spanning many disciplines when developing new products or redesigning existing ones. Well suited to meet this need are design knowledge bases that can be searched and reused, Bohm’s paper explains.
"For designers it is important that all of their efforts toward a new design or a product redesign are put to good use," says Bohm. "By using a design repository, a grocery list of possible parts and components can be generated for a specific function of a product. The designer now has access to existing solutions that could be used in his or her product. This keeps the designer from having to re-invent the wheel when trying to solve a specific piece of the design puzzle."
Bohm and his team created a database application that records only what product knowledge they found to be relevant. "Now with the one application, all design knowledge that has been recorded is all in the same place and accessible at the same time," says Bohm. "By combining product design knowledge into one application, the time to search through and find what is pertinent to a designer is greatly reduced and the returned results are more in number and accuracy."