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Concept optimization for mechanical product using Genetic Algorithm

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Conceptual design is the first step in the overall process of product design. Its intrinsic uncertainty, imprecision, and lack of information lead to the fact that current conceptual design activities in engineering have not been computerized and very few CAD systems are available to support conceptual design. In most of the current intelligent design systems, approach of principle synthesis, such as morphology matrix, bond graphic, or design catalogues, is usually adopted to deal with the concept generation, in which optional concepts are generally combined and enumerated through function analysis. However, as a large number of concepts are generated, it is difficult to evaluate and optimize these design candidates using regular algorithm. It is necessary to develop a new approach or a tool to solve the concept generation. Generally speaking, concept generation is a problem of concept synthesis. In substance, this process of developing design candidate is a combinatorial optimization process, viz., the process of concept generation can be regarded as a solution for a state-place composed of multi-concepts. In this paper, genetic algorithm is utilized as a feasible tool to solve the problem of combinatorial optimizalion in concept generation, in which the encoding method of morphology matrix based on function analysis is applied, and a sequence of optimal concepts are generated through the search and iterative process which is controlled by genetic operators, including selection, crossover, mutation, and reproduction in GA. Several crucial problems on GA are discussed in this paper, such as the calculation of fitness value and the criteria for heredity termination, which have a heavy effect on selection of better concepts. The feasibility and intellectualization of the proposed approach are demonstrated with an engineering case. In this work concept generation is implemented using GA, which can facilitate not only generating several better concepts, but also selecting the best concept. Thus optimal concepts can be conveniently developed and design efficiency can be greatly improved.

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Correspondence to Hong-Zhong Huang or Rui-Feng Bo or Xiang-Feng Fan.

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Huang, H., Bo, R. & Fan, X. Concept optimization for mechanical product using Genetic Algorithm. J Mech Sci Technol 19, 1072–1079 (2005).

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Key Words

  • Conceptual Design
  • Genetic Algorithm
  • Optimization
  • Concept Generation
  • Intelligence