Decisions taken in the early phases of product development have great influence on the final product both seen from a design activity point of view and from a product life-cycle point of view. Most computerbased design support systems for engineering design like CAD-systems etc. are not made for the very first and crucial decisions.
The objective is to demonstrate that product modelling in interaction with a computer system using optimized graphical user interface can improve the designer’s basis for decision making in the early phases of the project.
This paper presents the software system called Modellizer, which is based on the design theory called Theory of Domains that can be used to expand the concept of product models from a bill-of-material representation to a genetic model capturing decisions and design concepts during design activities.
Modellizer has been implemented with a designer dedicated user interface, which supports product modelling and life-phase modelling in order to structure data and document based information.
Three different applications of Modellizer is demonstrated in the paper:
1) OSS Modellizer is a prototype for a shipyard, where the idea is to support the early modelling of ships by catching decisions during design meetings
2) Alulib is a commercial available application for promoting more and correct use of aluminum. Alulib is a library with product examples.
3) LCA Visualizer is a commercial available application for evaluation and visualization of the environmental burden of different design scenarios.
Until now Modellizer has been used in a number of companies and engineering academies and good results have been obtained.