Automating Inclusion of Production Considerations in the Conceptual Design of Aircraft Structures

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Considerations that decide producibility of a design are an important part of the design process, and must be included in the early design stages to ensure that these designs can be realised. Not including these considerations carries the risk of incurring additional costs and delays at later stages of product development because of design changes, or can lead to limiting oneself to conservative design choices to reduce the associated risk.
The current process in the industry accounts for these production considerations in design through a manual process that is iterative and time-consuming, and hence forms a bottleneck in being able to trade-off multiple design concepts. Attempts at accounting for these production considerations in an automated way are associated with the limitations of either only considering the manufacturing cost, being specific solutions that work only in certain scenarios, or being dependent on some commercial software tools, which are not fully suitable for use in context of automation and/or at the conceptual design stage. Additionally, the aspects of manufacturing and assembly are usually not considered at the same time in these studies.
Therefore, this thesis aims at developing a methodology that enables the automated inclusion of production considerations in the conceptual design process of aircraft structures, while overcoming shortcomings of the state-of-the-art....