Systems Engineering Using Key Characteristics

Period of Performance: 09/02/1998 - 09/02/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Schwalb Consulting
26 Valley View
Irvine, CA 92612
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Schwalb Consulting (SC) is developing an innovative constraint based software system that enables efficient tracking, updating and communication of Key Characteristics (KC) of parts and subassemblies. The goal of the KC management system is to deliver technical KC information into the hands of the right people at the right time, no matter how geographically dispersed the organization. Three types of KCs have been identified: Product KCs, Assembly KCs and Manufacturing KCs. The central problem managing KC databases is maintaining consistency between tolerance requirements and manufacturing capabilities. It is commonly believed that once KC tolerance consistency is maintained, flexible fixtureless precision assembly can be achieved through prefabricated attachments. The visual KC (VisKC) software being developed integrates all KC information into a constraint database managed by an Active Constraint Network (ACN) which actively seek to achieve consistency. The ACN database can be queried to determine required tolerances and contrast them with manufacturing capabilities. Phase I is focusing on formalizing the initial concept and proving its feasibility. The Phase II development will result in a prototype system which supports collaborative authoring through an intranet.