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 New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans
16.01.2017 | University of Southern California

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT announces CloudTeams collaborative software development platform – join it for free
10.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>