Linking product design in CAD with assembly operations in CAM for virtual product assembly

Chi Haur Wu*, Yujun Xie, Swee Mean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose - Virtual product design has become a key technology in reducing costly design errors that are often difficult to detect manually. In order to evaluate product assembly in a virtual environment, it is important to link a product's design in CAD with the constrained complexity of assembly operations in CAM so that the design can be evaluated and modified in a virtual environment before production begins. The paper aims to focus on this. Design/methodology/approach - The proposed virtual system includes the following components: a product assembly coding model, named Open Structured Assembly Coding System (OSACS), that codes part-mating operations for assembling any two parts in CAM; a rule-based code extractor that identifies OSACS codes for assembling product from the part-mating information encoded in Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data AP-203 CAD data; and an assembly-sequence generator that generates a binary assembly-tree for the designed product coded with OSACS assembly codes, representing assembly operations in CAM for product assembly. Findings - The proposed system links the design phase in CAD with the manufacturing phase in CAM. Simulation studies were made using CAD Ap-203 data files from an actual mobile phone housing assembly. A binary assembly-tree assigned with OSACS assembly codes was generated for assembling the product. The assembling complexity between any two parts was coded with the unique OSACS assembly codes. The final binary assembly tree represents how the product is going to be assembled in CAM with the mating complexity encoded in the assigned OSACS codes. Research limitations/implications - The advantage of this virtual product assembly system is that a design can be validated first in a virtual environment without building the expensive physical production system. Moreover, additional design iterations can be performed in the same amount of time to improve product quality. Practical implications - Linking product design in CAD with assembly operations in CAM can help realize significant cost savings by preventing future manufacturing problems. With the proposed virtual system, a company can prevent a potential problematic design from reaching production. Originality/value - This paper introduces the conceptual design of a virtual system that links product design in CAD with assembly operations in CAM. This system provides a designer with a virtual product assembly process to evaluate a designed product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalAssembly Automation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • Assembly
  • Computer aided design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Linking product design in CAD with assembly operations in CAM for virtual product assembly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this