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The Use of CATIA V5 KnowIedgeWare in the Design

of Forming Dies

Andreas Rennet, Dr. Michael Ziegler
:fepcon engineering services GmbH, Sindelfingen, Germany

The redesigned CAD software version 5 of CATIA which is widely used within the automotive and
aerospace industries comes with a bundle of modules covered under the keyword KnowlegdeWare.
These modules targeting for improving design processes, reducing design times, increasing design
quality and for reducing the die costs by smart design solutions and increased use of standard parts.
This paper is summary of a study which was performed by :fepcon to show the feasibilities of the
KnowledgeWare of CATIA within in the scope of the design of metal forming dies. The results of this
study can be used as a guideline for the internal discussions in a company whether the use of
KnowledgeWare make sense or not. It does not give information about the quantity of possible time
and cost savings.

Die Design, Knowledge Based Design, CATIA, Expert Knowledge, Parameter Based Design

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany

0. Introduction

Cost savings and process improvements are keywords within the product development in all business
areas like automotive, consumer products or aerospace. This has also impact to the design of
production dies. Two main topics have to be solved: it is necessary to realize the shorter product
development cycles with the same number of human resources and it is necessary to reduce the
To improve the processes and to realize cost and time savings within the field of die design, different
ways can be mentioned:

Improvement of the designer skills
Improvement of hard- and software components
Improved design methodology
Process redesign
Use of Expert Knowledge Based Design

Improving skills, optimized hard- and software components should not be a high potential. Most of the
companies should be on an up to date level in this topics. In spite of that, improving design
methodology is still a working field. There are not too many companies with an entire 3D-die design
process. There can be still found a mixture between 2d design, 2d/3d design and 3d design. Having
an entire 3d process can reduce change cycles and mistakes due to the possibility of virtual testing
scenarios for the die concept (e.g. digital enterprise, collision tests).
Process redesign is still an open point in the majority of companies (esp. SME). The problem comes
most of the time from the situation that the soft- and hardware solutions changed and improved that
fast in the last decade, that there was no time to adapt the internal design processes within the
company infrastructure. So the potential of time and cost reduction is still high by optimizing the
The last three points in the above mentioned possibilities for the realization of cost and time savings
are focus this paper. All three points (standardization, automatisms and expert knowledge) provides a
very high potential to reduce design time and as a subsequent effect to save money.

Standardization within the die design does not imply to have only one set of standard die designs but
means to increase the number of standard parts as well as to develop standard design concepts (like
a tool box) which are parameterized and available within catalogues and databases for all designers.

About 50-60% of the daily work of a die designer is not engineering but simple working steps within
the CAD system which do not need the high prized skills of a designer or engineer. These working
steps are e.g. CAD quality checks, drafting, creation of manufacturing drawings etcUsing technical
(software based) solutions to perform those working steps partial automatically can reduce the
process time and helps the employees to get rid of boring work [1],[2].

Expert Knowledge
Using expert knowledge and expert systems for CAD based design was discussed very controversially
the last years. Using expert knowledge within a design process means that experiences, company
internal rules, and basic design rules are stored in a software solution which is adapted to or
integrated within the CAD system. While designing the user is helped automatically within his work
e.g. hints and solutions can be provided in pop up windows or the system can create CAD entities
automatically. Generally the expert knowledge is company related and only a basic set of fundamental
design rules can be provided by a general system. For internal experiences standard software
solutions have to be customized. The potential to use expert knowledge within the design process is
very high. Expert knowledge can be used to realize automatisms, to check design rules etc. and it help
new employees to be productive in a very short time period [3], [4], [5].

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany

Within the CAD System CATIA V4 using expert knowledge or expert systems was not very common
there was one software solution to implement knowledge and rule based design (Stonerule) but the
development environment was not implemented in CATIA V4 [6]. But a lot of very complex examples
showed the potential of the use of these techniques and the ROI of the development of an expert
system like this was under one year.
The completely redesigned CATIA V5 comes now with an implemented development environment for
expert systems, different modules are building the KnowledgeWare [7]. Within the next chapters the
potentials of this development environment is described and shows its capabilities for the goal of time
and cost reduction within the die design process. All information is based on the CATIA V5 Release 9.
The use of parameters and formulas within CATIA V5 is being assumed to be known.

1. Concept of KnowIegdeWare in CATIA V5
As a concept of KnowledgeWare different Modules are available for CATIA V5: Knowledge Advisor,
Knowledge Expert and Product Knowledge Templates. The Product Engineering Optimizer is not
taken into account within this paper. Fig. 1 shows the modules and their feasibilities. Going from top to
bottom the modules are more and more sophisticated.

Fig. 1: Concept of the CATIA V5 KnowledgeWare.
The modules of KnowledgeWare are stand-alone solutions but before deciding which of the modules
is necessary for a company a process analysis has to be carried out weather it is necessary to
combine different modules or not.

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany

1.1 Knowledge Advisor
The Knowledge Advisor module in CATIA V5 offers a first step into the knowledge based design.
Based on the concept of creating Rules, Checks, Advisors are acting on a feature within the document
and are stored as a relation. They can either be activated or not and they can be manipulated over the
context menu.
They provide a bundle of possibilities to help the user while designing the die as an assistant or they
can be used to check the company rules.

Rules are used to set a parameter values or to define a formula for one or more parameters, to start a
Visual Basic macro and it can be used to perform a change in pointes, curves and surfaces.
Information provided by the rule can be displayed on panels. E.g.: a simple rule can be defined as an
if-then clause (e.g. if Parameter A has a certain value then set Parameter B to a certain new value).
Rules are (if active) executed automatically if one of its input parameter or features has changes or if
the user updates the rule.

The Checks do not come with an action, they are used only for checking parameters or relations.
Checks can be defined upon a set of statements e.g. if the Blankholder Height > 500mm a message
window pops up (e.g. Attention Blankholder Height is too big!). That means that whenever the
blankholder is changed it will be checked if its height is less or equal to 500mm. Check can be very
useful in the context of quality assurance within the design process

In spite off the rules, reactions are not executed automatically triggered by parameter change or a
feature change. The reactions are only triggered by a list of certain actions like drag and drop events,
insert events, remove events or instantiation events etc. They can also be used to change parameter
values or starting a visual basic script.

Are a possibility to drive changes, creation and deletion of a feature for a set of features. The loops
can help the user to have a change friendly design document.

1.2 Knowledge Expert
The Knowledge Expert Module offers functionality which is in the first view similar or comparable to
the functionalities of the Knowledge Advisor. But the concept of the Knowledge Expert module goes
further and opens the way to rule driven design. It offers access to more geometrical constructors, the
so called KWE (Knowledge Expert Language) is more complete and Knowledge Advisor components
can be accessed with it. The KWE is very similar to visual basic. Additionally to the KWE, all functions
of the Expert Module can be accessed with VBscripts.
In difference to Knowledge Advisor, the Rules of the Knowledge Expert module are stored in an own
feature (not under a relation) and are organized hierarchically.

Rule Base
A Rule base is the top Object in KWE which is generated automatically in a document when entering
KWE-Workbench. It can have one or more rule sets (collection of rules) in a lower level. It can be
activated or not. The rule are not fired automatically, they have to be triggered, which is a big
difference to the KWA Rule Feature which is below a Relation. A rule base can be stored in a catalog.
Rule bases can be treated like a complete company knowledge package.

Expert Check
Does only check if a statement or condition for an object is true and does not change the document.
The main difference to KWA-Checks is that they apply to a class of objects (incl. UDF) defined by the
For All definition. E.g. (/for all/) h:holes; s:shells;

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


Expert Rule
Can change the document if a condition or statement is fulfilled or not. The Expert Rules are also
apply on all classes of object within the for all definition.

1.3 Product Knowledge Templates
The module Product Knowledge Templates (PKT) in CATIA V5 offers the definition of either interactive
user defined templates (feature, part and assembly definition) or the complex but powerful script-
based definition of those templates.

Interactive Templates
The definition of features, parts or assemblies as templates is done interactively like the design of a
new part. It provides the possibility to share design methodologies and knowledge across a company,
and the templates can contain not only geometry but also relations, parameters KWA and KWE
contents, design tables etc.
The parameters of a Product Knowledge Template (UDF) are not to be changed unless there are
published within the definition field of the UDF. The UDF can be applied also to different topologies.
Only the necessary inputs have to be selected. Be applying the UDF to the new feature it is
instantiated. All that mean, that UDFs are no static geometrical definition provided in a catalog it is an
extreme powerful function, it can e.g. contain a punch design (reinforcements etc.) and only need
some inputs like punch curve, offset, etc.

Part and Assembly Templates
This templates work at the part or at the assembly level. The definition is comparable to the definition
of Power Copies. The defined templates are features in the structure tree itself. The User has to define
the Part/Assembly than define it with Template Definition. Once the User has defined the necessary
inputs he has to publish necessary Parameters and some additional Information.
Using the part/assembly template in a product it will be treated like a part.

Scripting Templates
With the scripting language, it is possible to create generative scripts building up geometrical entities,
containing KWE and KWA components, parameters, constraints etc. The scripting objects can be
applied to almost all geometrical objects within CATIA V5 which makes the scripting language very

2. SkiII and Maintenance Requirements for the KnowIedgeWare ModuIes
Building up knowledge components and knowledge based design processes comes with additional
work and skill requirements for creation and maintenance. The KnowledgeWare modules of CATIA V5
can be roughly distributed on a complexity (that means the necessary skill level) versus possible cost
saving (that means cheaper and faster design processes with higher quality). Without giving a
quantity, Fig. 2 gives a basic understanding for the question of complexity and cost saving potential.
Generally spoken, the more potential of cost saving the more skill is necessary to realize complete
KnowledgeWare solutions.

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


Fig. 2: Complexity versus Cost Saving Potential with KnowledgeWare Modules

3. Requirement of KnowIedge- and Expert-Based in the die-design process

3.1 Process Analysis
Before deciding weather an investment for KnowledgeWare modules and the building up of skills is
making sense for a company or not, the process (e.g. the die design process) has to be analyzed in
an adequate way. Such a process analysis can be a multilevel analysis which splits to process into the
different levels of information generation and which helps to split the process into discrete packages
which can or not be realized, automated or supported by expert- or knowledge based concepts (s.Fig.
After describing the class of the package it can be proofed, if one of the KnowledgeWare modules of
CATIA V5 can is suitable for this task. Finally the amount of time and money to realization,
implementation, training and maintenance has to be estimated.
As a result of such a process analysis (which is company specific because of the different boundary
conditions, design methodologies etc.) as a result a description of the current and a future knowledge
based optimized process is available as well as a cost and time estimation for a possible ROI or of
the cost saving potential.

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


Fig. 3: Multi level incremental process analysis for design process improvement on the base of
knowledge based design.

3.2 Results for the Die Design Process
A process analysis according to chapter (3.1) was carried out for the design of a deep drawing die
(operation 2 after blank cutting) to get a feeling of the capabilities of the KnowledgeWare of CATIA V5.
For this it was assumed that the manufacturing process itself is 3d-based, therefore no manufacturing
drawing were necessary, only information drawing like cuts, projections and assembly-drawings. All
tolerances and quality information are attached to the part. Additionally it was assumed that the
forming geometry was already prepared to focus only on the die design process. Finally it was
assumed that standard parts coming form an external catalogue (like from PartSolution

of Cadenas)
were defined as internal PowerCopy or Product Knowledge Template to attached company internal
rules and knowledge to them. This was necessary to get use of the highest amount of
KnowledgeWare components within the performed analysis.

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


Fig. 4 shows the simplified process flow chart of the knowledge based design process of the deep
drawing die (female die) which was result of the analysis. Especially through the assistance of the
user in the beginning of the design by helping to choose a template die and the following hints and
remarks and automated corrections and quality checks, the design process time was able to be
reduced by approximately 35% comparing to the conventional design without automated help. To
reach this all modules of KnowledgeWare were necessary. The time savings without the PKT module
would be less then 5%, only the quality improvement could be still the same.

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


Fig. 4: Simplified Flow Chart of the knowledge based female die design process of a deep drawing

20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


20th CAD-FEM Users Meeting 2002 October 9-11, 2002
International Congress Kultur- und Congress Centrum Graf-Zeppelin-Haus,
on FEM Technology Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Germany


The study of using CATIA V5 KnowledgeWare within the design process of dies showed the high
potential of the knowledge based engineering. Still the modules of CATIA V5 are not complete to
cover every possible item, but the amount of cost saving potential is quite high. Especially the KWE
and PKT modules lead to a short ROI time if used consequently.
Main challenge in the realization will be the collection of knowledge and experience and its description
in rules and algorithms. Second main challenge in the realization is building up programming skills not
only for creation but also for maintenance (the knowledge is changing throughout the years). The
programming of knowledge components needs software specialist and can not be realized be the
designer for itself. Only local checks and rules as well as working with parameters or formulas and the
definition of PowerCopies of simple product knowledge templates can be executed locally be
experienced designers. As a consequence it seems like there is no decision between to much levels
of integration of knowledge based design: doing it means doing it consequently and with as much
resources as possible otherwise it just leads to additional costs in the company.


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[4] Altenkrger, D.; Bttner, W.:
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[6] Rother, K.; Rennet, A. et al.
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[7] Dassault Systems
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