Maintaining high product quality while reducing cost is essential for mass-customised products, requiring continuous improvement of the product development process. To this end, design automation should be utilised in all stages of a product’s develop process and lay the foundation for automation of repetitive tasks throughout the process from interaction with the customer to design and production in order to mitigate errors and minimise costs. In this paper, a design automation and production preparation framework is proposed that can facilitate automation from initial stages via CAD to production. Examples of the framework are shown in the shape of proof-of-concepts systems developed by master students in the context of a course in design automation at Linköping University. Included disciplines such as automated planning of robot assembly paths, CNC manufacturing files and production drawings are described, based on design automation, Knowledge-Based Engineering, and design optimisation. Additionally, variations of the framework are implemented at three SMEs, and the results thereof are presented. The proposed frameworks enable interaction and connection between the “softer”, human centred, aspects of customer interaction within sales, with more traditional “harder” engineering disciplines in design and manufacturing.
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