Knowledge-based engineering (KBE) generally involves the combination of Computer Aided Design (CAD), and the acquisition of process information, to analyze and automate the use and sharing of product data. It often involves product computer models and the rules required to alter a product from an engineering perspective. Artificial intelligence can be incorporated into knowledge-based engineering to guide automation systems. Computer technologies, as well as the various steps to successfully implementing KBE in a company, must often be considered.
The components and functions of an actual product can be the focus of knowledge-based engineering. Databases of information, spreadsheets, physical analyses, and models on engineering and production costs can be included as well. Product drawings that include parts and assemblies, along with set rules, are often combined to make changes that can be put in place for new versions of things or for customizing a system for a client. Standard models, or templates, can be used to work from each step of the way.
Corporations often use knowledge-based engineering for the production of aerospace and automotive components, as well as medical devices. The design of commercial building systems, such as those for cooling and ventilation, usually follows the principles of KBE as well. Electronics enclosures and even toys can even be designed according to a database of knowledge.
Begun along with computerized manufacturing in the 1980s, knowledge-based engineering is typically implemented for the technical development of products; this is also used in business processes related to product lifecycle management. Business models that deal with the configuration, project management, and the sale of a product can fit in with KBE practices. They often operate using defined methods of communicating product information between project teams and other companies.
Knowledge-based engineering can reduce the amount of time needed to program computer languages, or even re-write code. Software used for knowledge engineering often works with CAD programs already used by a company, as well as Web-based networking systems. Any business that wants to start using KBE can find a knowledge engineer. Implementing it, however, usually requires pricing around, specifying the details of a project, checking references, and analyzing first impressions.
Consultants can help document product and process data and develop methods and techniques for knowledge-based engineering. A company is typically on its own when measuring the success of KBE, which is often measured by monitoring sales, design time, and instances of product rework. If successful, KBE can help make production processes more efficient in terms of time and costs, as well as increase sales due to improved designs and marketing strategies.