Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purdue method will help industry design parts-search systems

27.09.2005


Researchers at Purdue University who developed the first system capable of searching a company’s catalog of three-dimensional parts created with computer-aided design software are now providing a method to evaluate how well such systems work.


A "shape-search" method developed by engineers at Purdue University enables people to search a company’s catalog of parts created with computer-aided design software. As this image illustrates, the Purdue method lets people sketch the general shape of the part they are looking for and retrieves parts that match the sketch. Users also can pick an inventoried CAD part that resembles the part they are seeking, and then matches are retrieved. The search can be conducted over the Internet or internally at a company site. The method has been commercialized by a company in the Purdue Research Park. Shape-search engines could save time and millions of dollars annually by making it easier for companies to "reuse" previous designs, reducing redundancy and streamlining a company’s supply chain. (School of Mechanical Engineering/Purdue University)


A "shape-search" method developed by engineers at Purdue University enables people to search a company’s catalog of parts created with computer-aided design software. The method, which has been commercialized by a company in the Purdue Research Park, lets people sketch the general shape of the part they are looking for and retrieves parts that match the sketch. As this image illustrates, users also can pick an inventoried CAD part that resembles the part they are seeking, and the system retrieves matches. The search can be conducted over the Internet or internally at a company site. Shape-search engines could save time and millions of dollars annually by making it easier for companies to "reuse" previous designs, reducing redundancy and streamlining a company’s supply chain. (School of Mechanical Engineering/Purdue University)



Shape-search engines could save time and millions of dollars annually by making it easier for companies to "reuse" previous designs, reducing redundancy and streamlining a company’s supply chain. The systems will enable companies to benefit from the lessons learned in creating past parts, said Karthik Ramani, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering.

The Purdue mechanical engineers have created a "benchmarking database and process" that enables engineers to evaluate how well their search system is able to retrieve matches, Ramani said.


Findings will be detailed in two research papers being presented today (Monday, Sept. 26) during the 25th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in Long Beach, Calif. The papers were written by Ramani, mechanical engineering doctoral students Natraj Iyer and Jayanti Subramaniam, and postdoctoral research associate Jiantao Pu.

The Purdue 3-D shape-search method also has been selected for a special "showcase and reception" from 5-7 p.m. (PDT) on Tuesday (Sept. 27) at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The method, developed by Pu and Ramani, has been commercialized by Imaginestics LLC, a company in the Purdue Research Park. Ramani is chief scientist for the company, which has developed products based on the research.

Computer-aided design, commonly referred to as CAD, was introduced a few decades ago for such daunting projects as creating better ship hulls and airplane wings. The systems are now routinely used to design everything from automotive water pumps to industrial machine parts.

"One of the great disappointments of CAD has been the difficulty of reusing data," Ramani said. "Once CAD information has been created and used, it is often stored and forgotten. As a result, industry loses a lot of money by not being able to reuse earlier parts. The proverbial wheel is reinvented many times."

Parts designers spend about 60 percent of their time searching for the right information, which is one of the most frustrating tasks for engineers, Ramani said.

"The whole power of computers is lost if you are not able to retrieve and ’reuse’ what you have created in the past," he said.

The Purdue shape-search system enables people to select an inventoried part that resembles a desired part and retrieve similar items. Users also can sketch the desired part entirely from memory, or they can choose a part that looks similar from the company’s catalog and then sketch modifications to that part. The system then assists in finding the desired part.

The Purdue benchmarking system uses an inventory of 1,000 parts and evaluates how well a search system is able to retrieve matches to a part entered into a query. The parts are grouped in 40 categories, such as ringlike parts, T-shaped parts, cylindrical parts and disk-shaped parts.

"If I give a query for a part that’s in one of the categories, the top 10 results should ideally be in that category and as close to the queried part as possible," Ramani said. "If the search system found only six matches from the right category and four from some other category, then I know it’s not that good."

The Purdue researchers also have created a method for automatically orienting a part as humans would view it – in its "most stable orientation," meaning a position in which the part would not fall over.

"If I placed a part on the top of a table and it fell over, it would be in an unstable position," Ramani said. "If I placed the same part on a table and it remained in place, that would be its most stable position, which is how humans imagine a part and how they draw the part. We came up with a method for very stable pose determination, then we index the part in the database in that pose. Then, for that particular stable position, we project it in various views, such as a side view, a front view and a top view, so that you can really see what the part looks like, which is important for sketch-based queries."

The benchmarking database and parts inventory are available online. A demonstration software prototype called "Shapelab" also is available online.

A critical element that makes the most stable pose determination and searchable database possible is using simplified versions of CAD parts. Those simplified versions, called "faceted models" because they are made up of a series of triangular segments, require less computing power than would be needed to process more complex CAD objects. The Purdue researchers created a new method for representing a part, converting it from a flat, two-dimensional drawing into a "two and a half dimension" representation. The 2.5-D method adds individual detail to the drawings and faceted CAD models and represents them in a way that is searchable.

The Purdue methods allow the user to fine-tune the search by changing the sketch.

"The search is a multi-step process, which is very important," Ramani said. "You repeatedly narrow down the characteristics of the part you are looking for to bridge the gap between what’s in your head – your idea of what the part looks like – and what’s in this huge inventory of parts. This is not a simple, single-step approach that others have tried."

The Purdue researchers used their benchmarking process to test about a dozen shape-search methods, including two from Purdue and the remainder from other universities.

"Our methods consistently performed with 20 to 30 percent higher precision than other methods," Ramani said. "In addition, the Purdue method has the unique capability of being interactive and closer to human perception. They have made search an interactive process rather than a one-shot query."

The Purdue researchers plan to eventually provide their benchmarking system online free of charge.

The work has been funded by the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, created by the state to promote high-tech research and development and to help commercialize innovations. The work also is supported by Purdue’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the Cyber Center, both located at Discovery Park, the university’s hub for interdisciplinary research and entrepreneurship.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source: Karthik Ramani, (765) 494-5725, ramani@ecn.purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chipl devices
15.08.2017 | Brigham Young University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>