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Parametrically Driven CAD-templates and

Knowledge Based Engineering


- Efficient development of Thyristor Valves

Johannes Gran-Hirvioja
Joakim Johansson

Master Thesis, June 2012


Department of Management and Engineering
Division of Machine Design
LIU-IEI-TEK-A--12/01317--SE

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Acknowledgments

This report is the result of our master thesis performed at ABB HVDC in Ludvika,
during the spring of 2012. The thesis is the final examination of our Master of Science
in mechanical engineering at Linkping University.
We want to take the chance to express our gratitude to all those who guided us in this
thesis work. There are a number of people that we want to thank for their contribution,
either technical or supportive to this project.

Madelene Nilsson

Supervisor, Mechanical Valve Designer, ABB HVDC

Simon Fjgers

Supervisor, Mechanical Valve Designer, ABB HVDC

Martin Forsberg

Manager, Mechanical Valve Design, ABB HVDC

Peter Hallberg

Supervisor, Jr. Lecturer, LiU

Adam Gunr

Opponent, Student, LiTH

Rickard Johansson

Opponent, Student, LiTH

We would also like to thank all the employees at ABB for their help during the thesis.

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Abstract

ABB is a world leading company operating in the fields of automation and power
technology.

This thesis aims to build a parametrically driven design template for ABB in Ludvika,
Sweden. In order to speed up the design process of a Thyristor Valve the department of
TVM is looking into automating the process. As large and complex CAD models are
becoming more common, it is necessary to keep the efficiency high when modeling to
keep the products profitable. Limiting re-design and manual tasks in NX 7.5 is a desire
from the department.
The thesis proposes the use of Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) methods to
achieve design reuse and automation. By analyzing the information available,
implementation into CAD templates can be performed, with the ability to modify them
parametrically.
The results of this thesis are several parametrical template assemblies presented in the
end of this report. A proof of concept is there modeled by modifying the templates,
showing the benefits of design automation. In the end a discussion around the methods
and the results capability takes place, leading to a conclusion.

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Abbreviations
BOM

= Bill of Material

CAD

= Computer Aided Design

CAE

= Computer Aided Engineering

CI

= Commonality Index

HVDC

= High Voltage Direct Current

KBE

= Knowledge Based Engineering

PDM

= Product Data Management

PLM

= Product Lifecycle Management

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Table of Contents
1

Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 1
1.1

Problem description ....................................................................................................... 1

1.2

Purpose .......................................................................................................................... 1

1.3

Goal ............................................................................................................................... 2

1.4

Delimitation ................................................................................................................... 3

Background ........................................................................................................................... 5
2.1

ABB ............................................................................................................................... 5

2.2

HVDC ............................................................................................................................ 5

2.3

HVDC Classic Thyristor Valves ................................................................................... 6

Theoretical Frame of Reference ........................................................................................... 9


3.1

Computer Aided Design ................................................................................................ 9

3.2

NX ................................................................................................................................. 9

3.3

Teamcenter .................................................................................................................. 10

3.4

Transformations ........................................................................................................... 11

3.5

Parameterization .......................................................................................................... 13

3.6

Top-down vs. Bottom-up design ................................................................................. 13

3.7

Design Reuse and Automation .................................................................................... 14

3.8

Product Structure Modeling ........................................................................................ 15

3.9

Product variety design ................................................................................................. 17

3.10

Commonality in a product family ................................................................................ 17

3.11

Part Families ................................................................................................................ 19

Method ................................................................................................................................ 23
4.1

Knowledge Based Engineering ................................................................................... 23

4.2

User Acceptance .......................................................................................................... 25

Empirical Studies ................................................................................................................ 27


5.1

Thyristor Valve Structure Identification...................................................................... 27

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5.1.1

Module Assemby ................................................................................................. 29

5.1.2

Reactor Module ................................................................................................... 31

5.1.3

Thyristor Module ................................................................................................. 34

5.1.4

Thyristor Unit ...................................................................................................... 36

5.1.5

Capacitor Unit ..................................................................................................... 38

5.1.6

Valve Layer ......................................................................................................... 39

5.2
6

Empirical Studies summit............................................................................................ 41

Results ................................................................................................................................. 43
6.1

Parametrical Assemblies ............................................................................................. 43

6.1.1

Suppressed by Expression ................................................................................... 43

6.1.2

Component Array ................................................................................................ 44

6.1.3

Part Families ........................................................................................................ 45

6.2

Modeling of a new Thyristor Valve ............................................................................ 46

Discussion ........................................................................................................................... 55

Conclusion and future studies ............................................................................................. 59

8.1

Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 59

8.2

Future studies ............................................................................................................... 59

References ........................................................................................................................... 60

Written ......................................................................................................................................... 60
Online .......................................................................................................................................... 61
Oral .............................................................................................................................................. 61
Appendix 1 Skeleton geometry .................................................................................................. 1
Appendix 2 Part Families spreadsheet ....................................................................................... 2
Appendix 3 Reactor Module levels ............................................................................................ 3
Appendix 4 Adding a Reactor Module ....................................................................................... 4

List of Figures
Figure 2 - Converter station (ABB Photo). .................................................................................. 7
Figure 1 - Map showing the extraction of Fenno-Skan 1 and 2. (Fingrid.fi) ................................ 7
Figure 3 - Three Valves hanging from the ceiling in the Valve hall. (ABB Photo) ...................... 8
Figure 4 - The Topological Pyramid ........................................................................................... 11
Figure 5 - The Morphological Pyramid ....................................................................................... 12
Figure 6 - Graph of applying design reuse and Automation. Adapted from Tarkian (2009). ..... 14
Figure 7 - Product Model of a Car............................................................................................... 16
Figure 8 - Example Family Members created with Part Families ............................................... 19
Figure 9 - Part Family Spread sheet and Dialog box................................................................... 20
Figure 10 The Master Part 1JNL100340-819 and its Family Members .................................. 20
Figure 11 - The spreadsheet of the Master Part 1JNL100340-822 and the Family Members .... 21
Figure 12 - Model of iterative KBE acquisition process, adapted from Emberey (2007). .......... 24
Figure 13 - Dynamic conservatism, adapted from Berzelius and Skrvad ................................. 25
Figure 14 - Product Structure of the Thyristor Valve visualized with a Product Model Tree... 27
Figure 15 - CAD-model of a Thyristor Valve ........................................................................... 28
Figure 16 The instantiation of the Reactor Module and Thyristor Module.............................. 29
Figure 17 - Reactor Module Structure and CAD-model. ............................................................ 31
Figure 18 - Reactor Module with High or Low Current.............................................................. 32
Figure 19 - Reactor Assembled with 14 or 8 C-Cores. ............................................................... 32
Figure 20 - CAD-model and Product Structure of a Thyristor Module ...................................... 34
Figure 21 - CAD-model of a Thyristor Module .......................................................................... 36
Figure 22 - Showing the difference between the three main variants ......................................... 37
Figure 23 - Capacitor Unit with 6 and 9 pairs of capacitors........................................................ 38
Figure 24 - Valve Layer structure and a Valve layer with 6 layers ............................................. 39
Figure 25 - Two Valve Layers with Current up respectively down ............................................ 40
Figure 27 - Example of expression from Component Array ....................................................... 44
Figure 26 - Example of Expressions used to suppress components ............................................ 44
Figure 28 - Component Array taken from Valve Layer assembly .............................................. 45
Figure 29 - Two Layers of the Module Assembly and the Valve Layer ..................................... 46
Figure 30 - The three Thyristor Module templates...................................................................... 48
Figure 31 - The two variants of Thyristor Modules used in Fenno-Skan 2 ................................ 49
Figure 32 Module Assembly corresponding to the certain values of the main parameters...... 51
Figure 33 - The hierarchical structure of the Module Assembly of Fenno-Skan 2 ..................... 51
Figure 34 Selected Modules to replace and the Replace Component dialog box .................... 52
Figure 35 - The Valve Layer corresponding to the certain values of the main parameters......... 53
Figure 36 - Valve Layer of Fenno-Skan 2 ................................................................................... 53
Figure 37 - Fenno-Skan 2 with the two sub-assemblies Valve Layer and Module Assembly .... 54

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List of Tables
Table 1 Parameters that control the Module Assembly ............................................................ 29
Table 2 - Parameters that control the Reactor Module. ............................................................... 31
Table 3 Parameters that control the Thyristor Module. ............................................................ 35
Table 4 Parameters that control the Valve Layer ..................................................................... 40
Table 5 Main parameter values of Fenno-Skan 2 ..................................................................... 47

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1 INTRODUCTION
1.1

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Large and complex CAD models are becoming increasingly common in the industry.
With more powerful computer larger models are possible, thus making the model more
complex and unwieldy. By simplifying models you can free computing power and save
hours of work and money. Within ABB, and in particular at the department of TVM
(Valves Mechanical Design), new orders are constantly coming in and they need a more
effective way of assembling their products.
The basic idea of the thesis arose in the summer of 2011, when one of the writers
performed a summer internship at TVM. During the internship he designed a valve of
type HVDC Classic in Siemens NX 6, which was introduced as new software at the
department in 2010. This was modeled with drawings made in the CAD-program
Microstation as a basis. During the summer the idea of simplifying the modeling by
using automatic repetition of the common elements came up. The idea was to create a
product configurator to reduce the time required for modeling of new valves for the
product family HVDC Classic.
The problem to be solved is very interesting for the ordering department, but also for
other departments within the company. The subject can be related to a more general
view where automated modeling and facilitation of the arrangement of components is a
way to make the design process more efficient. In the design process of product
families, reusing of parts and sub-assemblies is a key to save time and money.

1.2

PURPOSE

The products of the company have a lot of knowledge stored inside of them, and so has
the designers. Since this knowledge can be hard to capture, there is a need of renew the
design methods for the product family.

The purpose of the thesis is to investigate how knowledge based engineering can be
applied to capture the knowledge of the designers and the products, and then implement
the knowledge in a parametrically driven product template. The main function should be
to partially automate the design process.

The main issues to bear in mind:

How can Knowledge Based Engineering be used to identify the expertise of the
designer?

What way can be used to implement the specialists knowledge into a


knowledge model?

What qualities should a product possess in order to be suitable for the use of
Topological transformation and to be developed in to a parametrically driven
Template?

How should a geometric model be built up to be suitable for design reuse and
automation?

1.3

GOAL

The goal of this thesis is to create a parametrically driven product template for HVDC
Classic Thyristor Valves. The template shall reduce total time of assembling a valve of
the Classic product family. The template is also meant to reduce repetitive work for the
designers, by simplifying and partially automate the model.
The template should also be able to make it possible to produce packing list and BOM
(bill of materials) directly from the CAD-model, which today is created in a different
software. Due to the wide spread of experience in the department, the template should
be easy to use and understand.
The design engineer should have the possibility to select a template and then modify
each assembly parametrically and build up most of the Thyristor Valve automatically.

1.4 DELIMITATION
To establish some clearly defined delimitation for this problem is crucial to the thesis.
Without delimitations the project could be almost endless. Making the CAD-model
totally automated by an intelligent template is just not possible or desired. So the goal
with the thesis isnt to replace any designers, but to free more time to be used for
development. By eliminating repetitive, time-consuming steps the design process should
be more effective than it is today, but some manual assembling will always remain for
the designer.
At first it was decided that the knowledge based template was going to be applicable on
the product family of HVDC Classic Thyristor Valves. Due to time limitations more
delimitation had to be done. The work was only going to focus on the larger subassemblies of the Thyristor Valve, with the ability to still achieve the goal of the thesis.

2 BACKGROUND
2.1

ABB

ABB is a world leading company operating in the fields of automation and power
technology. ABB stands for ASEA Brown Boveri and was formed during a merge in
1988 between the Swedish company ASEA (Allmnna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget)
and the Swiss company BBC (Brown Boveri & Cie). Both companies date back to the
end of the nineteenth century. ASEA was founded 1883 in Stockholm by Ludvig
Fredholm and was in the beginning a manufacturer of generators and electric lights.
Brown, Boveri & Cie was founded 1891 in Baden, Switzerland by Charles Eugene
Lancelot Brown and Walter Boveri and produced both AC and DC motors, generators
and transformers.
Today ABB is one of the largest engineering companies in the world and operates in
100 countries and has 130,000 employees. ABB is a company that could be described as
a conglomerate, which means it consists of diverse divisions that operate in different
fields of business, and since 2010 ABB is divided in five production divisions and one
corporate division. The production divisions are Power Products, Power Systems,
Discrete Automation and Motion, Low Voltage Products and Process Automation.
(ABB Homepage)

2.2 HVDC
This master thesis is performed at the division of Power Systems in Ludvika. Power
Systems supplies various power grid and power transmission solutions. HVDC (High
Voltage Direct Current) is one of them and it is an effective way to transfer large
amounts of electric power for example long distances, under water or between
unsynchronized networks. Unlike the more common technology of alternating current
system, HVDC uses direct current for the bulk transmission of electrical power. A

HVDC transmission link consists of three main components, a station to convert the
alternating current of the grid to direct current, a cable that transmits the power to the
next station where the direct current is converted back into alternating current.
The worlds first HVDC transmission link ever was developed and delivered by ABB
(ASEA) back in the 1950s. Together with the Swedish State Power Board, who was the
customer, a 90 km transmission link between the Swedish mainland and the island of
Gotland with a capacity of 100-kV and 20-MW were installed and commissioned in
1954. Since then ABB has led the way in HVDC transmission development and more
than half of the HVDC transmission capacity installed in the world has been delivered
by ABB.
High Voltage is used to reduce the energy lost in the resistance of the wires. By
doubling the voltage, for a given amount of transmitted power, the line-loss per unit of
electrical power delivered can be reduced with a factor 4.
There is also a positive environmental effect due to the fact that the HVDC transmission
line needs much less space than an AC line with the same power capacity. A DC
transmission only needs one line compare to the AC transmission that needs three lines,
one for each phase. (ABB HVDC Homepage)

2.3 HVDC CLASSIC THYRISTOR VALVES


The Thyristor Valves that performs the conversion between DC and AC is designed at
the department TVM.
In this thesis one Thyristor Valve are going to be used as a proof of concept. Together
with the supervisor at ABB the HVDC Classic project called Fenno-Skan 2 was
decided to be used. Fenno-Skan 2 consists of a transmission line of 800-MW
connecting the Swedish and Finnish power grid, with a converter station on each side of
the Baltic Sea.

Figure 1 - Map showing the extraction of Fenno-Skan 1 and 2. (Fingrid.fi)

Fenno-Skan 2 was taken in use early in the year of 2012 and, as seen in figure 1, there
is also another transmission line connecting the Swedish and Finnish power grid, called
Fenno-Skan 1, which was brought into commercial operation in December 1989.
The converter stations are massive complex, covering a large land area. Figure 2
displays a converter station in Longquan, China. In the picture all the different parts of
the station can be seen, such as DC reactors, Harmonics and DC Filters and
Transformers. However in this thesis we only take interest of the Thyristor Valves
inside of the Valve Hall.

Figure 2 - Converter station (ABB Photo).

The valve consists of a large number of thyristors connected in series to cope with the
high voltages. The valve is normally suspended from the ceiling of the valve hall and by
that they become extremely resistant to earthquakes (figure 3).(ABB HVDC Homepage)

Figure 3 - Three Valves hanging from the ceiling in the Valve hall. (ABB Photo)

3 THEORETICAL FRAME OF REFERENCE


3.1

COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN

Computer Aided Design, known as CAD in short terms, is used to create a virtual model
of an object or environment. The model is created in a computer before the object is
physically produced. This acts as a testing ground and is a cheap and safe way to
represent products.
CAD can be found in many different professions and is used by all types of designers
and architects in various industries. Many tasks can be solved with CAD, and it replaces
time consuming work with paper and pen. Built-in software in the CAD environment
can help making calculations and simulations. Today a single CAD model can replace
thousands of drawings and sketches, fully editable and replaceable, therefore increasing
the speed of design projects.
A CAD model consists of hierarchical levels commonly known as parts, assemblies and
sub-assemblies. A sub-assembly works exactly like an assembly, with the difference
that it isnt the top level in the hierarchy (Tarkian, 2009). The structure is often fully
traceable in a tree of history.

3.2 NX
Siemens PLM software provides NX as their advanced CAD/CAM/CAE tool. The
version used in this thesis is NX 7.5, which is one of the latest upgrades. Siemens PLM
states on their homepage that:
NX automates and simplifies design by leveraging the product and process knowledge
that companies gain from experience and from industry best practices. It includes tools
that designers can use to capture knowledge to automated repetitive tasks. The result is
reduced cost and cycle time and improved quality. (Siemens PLM Automation
homepage, NX mechanical design).

The software is also promoted with these business results:

Better product and process quality

Standardized deployment of best practices

Accelerated product development 90% reduction in development time through


automation

Up to 80% reduced application development costs

More innovation capacity by automating routine tasks

(Siemens PLM Automation homepage, NX mechanical design, knowledge automation).

3.3 TEAMCENTER
Siemens PLM Software provides Teamcenter as their product lifecycle management
software. It provides companies with the flexibility to choose from different PLMsolutions meeting the demands of business. Teamcenter helps connecting process- and
product knowledge between co-workers, teams or departments. Managing solutions are
provided in the portfolio and cover all steps from design and construction to
administration and manufacturing. (Siemens PLM Automation homepage, Teamcenter)

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3.4 TRANSFORMATIONS
If you divide CAD modeling or the transformation into only two main types, it could be
topological and morphological. Topological transformation is when the changes appear
in a hierarchical plane. Altering the number of instances in an array is typical
topological transformation. The change often becomes visible in a tree of history.

Figure 4 - The Topological Pyramid

As seen in figure 4, the topological changes can be automated in several stages. Full
automation of a component or sub-assembly requires well defined rules of knowledge,
and in chapter 3.7 this will be handled further.
Morphological transformation is any changes made to features in a part, for example
changing the length or shape of a curve (Tarkian, 2009). When looking at figure 5 one
can see that the applicable automation grade varies directly with the complexity of the
geometry. The square in the figure has very low complexity and therefore is easy to
parameterize and automate, see chapter 3.5.

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Since ABB have unique article numbers on all their parts and assemblies in Teamcenter,
no morphological transformation will be handled in this thesis. Adding morphological
transformation on to a part will result in a new unique article number. Since drawings
are produced mainly for the assembly workshop this would result in a big mess, with
non-existing parts or components. All parts and assemblies will strive to represent the
original components and therefore no morphological transformations will be made.
Morphological transformations are possible to solve with topological, instead of
changing certain geometry you can for example replace it with another one.

Figure 5 - The Morphological Pyramid

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3.5 PARAMETERIZATION
To parameterize a CAD model means that values that are usually fixed, for example a
dimension, can be controlled by parameters that can transform the model, both
topological and morphological. The design becomes more flexible and by changing just
one parameter you can get a completely new design, without any manual redesign.
The parameters can be linked to each other by rules, working through the whole
hierarchy of subsystems. Parameters can work as both inputs and outputs, meaning that
one features output can be another features input. They can contain almost anything
from text strings to constant numbers.

Parameters should not be confused with variables, which are all the dependent objects
inside the model itself that are controlled by the parameters through some sort of
relation (Amadori, 2012).

The methodology must be well organized and planned when applying parameterization
on a CAD model, naming the parameters in a well thought way to avoid
misunderstandings.

3.6 TOP-DOWN VS. BOTTOM-UP DESIGN


There are two main strategies of knowledge ordering, top-down and bottom-up. These
strategies represent the way of thinking and arranging when working with knowledge
based systems. Using the right approach in your system is crucial to get the most
benefits out of it.
Top-down design means that you break down a system into subsystems to get a good
overview of its composition. The system is refined with added levels of subsystems
until its detailed enough for representing the target. This approach is more analytical
than bottom-up, with the relation between the subsystems in mind from the start.

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When applying the Top-down approach on a CAD-model it is important to plan the


hierarchical structure of the product. With the knowledge of the elementary structure a
parametrical skeleton of the product can be constructed. The benefits of this
visualization are many, especially the flexibility of a model assembled by referencing to
the skeleton.
Bottom-up design is quite the opposite of top-down design, starting with subsystems.
By assembling the subsystems together you end up with a main system, the top-level
system. A good example of Bottom-up design is building with LEGO bricks. On the
lowest level the part is detailed enough to give the information needed, but when
assembled into large models the rules can get quite complex.

3.7 DESIGN REUSE AND AUTOMATION


This thesis strives of reducing mundane work for design engineers, by creating a way of
thinking applicable on CAD projects. If you can capture the needed knowledge, an
automated design flow can be implemented and further on reduce total development
time. Applying design reuse and automation can further expand the pool of knowledge,
as well as increasing freedom of choice. The cost of making a change, even if its late in
a development process, is decreased. This can be seen below in figure 6:

Figure 6 - Graph of applying design reuse and Automation. Adapted from Tarkian (2009).

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As mentioned by Tarkian (2009) the best suitable approach for automation is the topdown design. The bottom-up approach just doesnt suit very well with automation,
according to poor dependencies between components.
If a pattern of components is discovered in an assembly it is preferable to create a
component array, a built-in function in NX. This can be done with parts as well as
assemblies. The function is available in several CAD-software and is a main function
when performing topological design automation and transformations. Component array
creates or deletes instances of the chosen component.
The two variables of the function are the total number of instances and the offset
between the instances. Both can be either constants or controlled by an expression or a
performed measure. As the thesis work strive to fully parameterize the assemblies, all
variables in the arrays are controlled by expressions.

3.8 PRODUCT STRUCTURE MODELING

The structure of a product can be viewed as the hierarchical decomposition of a product.


Kott and Cederquist means that a strong hierarchic structure is integrated in many
industrial products and that it can be divided in to a number of major modules, and its
usually documented in the BOM.
Most companies use some kind of Product Data Management (PDM) to keep track and
store all their CAD-files, BOMs and drawings. The major CAD software usually has a
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) System that is closely connected, for example
NX has Teamcenter. Peltonen, H means that the importance of PDM has increased
when the life-cycles of products constantly are becoming shorter, the complexity of the
products grows and larger amount of variants of products is demanded by the Costumer.
According to Kott and Cederquist (1992) a schematically hierarchic approach dates
back to the 1960s and the AI (Artificial Intelligence) research. By breaking down a
problem in sub problems and then factoring these into even smaller problems, known
solutions can be used to solve them. In the case of modeling the product structure of a

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complex CAD-structure the first step would be to identify the elements building up the
Assembly, by using the BOM.
The Assembly usually consists of subassemblies and parts, where the subassemblies
themselves sometimes can be broken down in subassemblies and parts. As mentioned
previously, by Kott and Cederquist (1992), a product can be decomposed into modules,
where a module can be described as a subassembly containing elements that have a
stronger bond among themselves than the modules have with each other. A module can
be view as a defined sub-assembly that can be used in different products, for example a
type of motor can be used in two different kinds of cars.
This is how a simplified product structure model of a car could be visualized:

Figure 7 - Product Model of a Car.

In this case the car assembly is the product which consists of underlying sub-assemblies
and parts. The engine and gearbox is sub-assemblies in the car, but in the view of the
engine manufacturer the engine would be described as a product and the highest level of
the assembly. The definition of a product is therefore not strictly defined and can cause
some confusion. How the term product is used in this thesis will be clarified in the next
chapter.

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3.9 PRODUCT VARIETY DESIGN


An effective way to cut costs and decrease the time to design a product is to share
components among products. A component can be defined as the smallest indivisible
manufactured object in a product, while a product is an artifact built up by components.
The way the components are assembled within the product can be viewed as the
products architecture, i.e. the configuration or topology. A product family consists of
a set of products that share the same product platform, a set of all components,
manufacturing processes and assembly steps. According to Peltonen (2000):
A product family consists of product variants, which are in general similar to each
other but at the same time differ from each other with respect to properties that can be
specified by customers when they make orders.

The main advantages of designing products within a product family and let them have a
high commonality is (Emberey, 2007):

A decreased lead time in the design process.

Fewer components in inventory and also that needs to be tested.

A reduced product line complexity and set-up and retooling time.

Disadvantages with a product family with to high commonality can be that:

Products lack distinctiveness and their performance is not optimized


individually.

It hinders innovation and creativity in the design process.

3.10 COMMONALITY IN A PRODUCT FAMILY


The amount of components and manufacturing steps shared in a product family can be
estimated with Commonality index. A way of measuring Commonality index (CI)
proposed by Martin and Ishii (1996, 1997):

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!" = 1

!!!"#!!
!!
!! !!"#!!
!

Where:
! = !". !" !"#$!% !"#$"%&%'(
!! = !". !" !"#$"%&%'( !" !"#$% !
!! = !"#$% !". !" !"#$%&$%' !""#$#%
The Commonality Index ranges from 0 to 1, and a higher CI indicates that more
varieties within the product family are achieved with fewer unique components, which
will lead to the advantages mentioned above. According to Desai et al (2001) a design
configuration with commonality can lower the manufacturing costs and design savings
are obtained as a result of a common design effort.
In this thesis a unique component is considered to be a part in the BOM with a unique
article number and when calculating the CI the number of instances of a component is
not included in the formula. Therefore the way of how the instances of a component are
placed topologically is not taken in consideration in the CI-formula and needs to be
examined and for the product family to be suitable for design automation it is better if
the placing follows some kind of pattern.
A variant is only counted when it contains a unique component compared to another
variant. The total number of unique components can be seen as summing up all the parts
with unique article number in the variants.

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3.11 PART FAMILIES


Part Families is a function in Siemens NX. It is a way to simplify the creating of
products that are similar to each other and to reduce editing time of these. The Family
Members are created from a Master Part, and all changes concerning them must be
done in the Master Part. The members created from the Master Part are not editable
their selves. Compilations and drawings can be made from the Master Part, covering all
Family Members information with lists.

Figure 8 - Example Family Members created with Part Families

The Master Part can be a part, assembly or a sub-assembly. The transformation that
differ the products from each other shall be controlled by either expressions, attributes,
components, features, density or mirror, setting the rules for the creation. The
transformation can be both morphological and topological as seen in the example of
figure 8. Each created Family Member gets a new unique number for future use and in
Teamcenter a new sub-folder is created under the Master Part, containing all members
created from that Master Part.

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Figure 9 - Part Family Spread sheet and Dialog box.

Any expressions created must be placed in the top level of the Master Part. The hand
coding is completely eliminated in the creating procedure of the Family Members, but
you will always need some parameter to get any changes. The function environment
then work together with Excel, creating a spreadsheet to control the creation of new
members. Choosing article numbers is made by the user in the spread sheet and the
values of included parameters also needs manual input. But as mentioned earlier no
programming language skills are needed and the interface in Excel is easy to
understand. By an add-in in the spreadsheet the user then can choose to create or update
parts, among other functions.

Figure 10 The Master Part 1JNL100340-819 and its Family Members

The spreadsheet in figure 9 is from the Master Part 1JNL100340-819 and the model
and the Family Members can be seen in figure 10.

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Further use of the function can be to create family assemblies. The ability to control a
including Master Part in an assembly as a parameter in the spreadsheet and by that
create new unique assemblies without having to replace components manually. In the
spreadsheet a column is created like the ones with expressions and instead of entering a
value, an article number can be entered. This works quite straight forward, replacing the
chosen part with the one entered. The user just have to bear in mind that the placement
and constraining need a certain level of commonality between the parts.

Figure 11 - The spreadsheet of the Master Part 1JNL100340-822 and the Family Members

An example of this can be seen in figure 11. This is in fact an assembly with the Master
Part 1JNL100340-819 included and with a Component Array of a simple pin. The
configuration of the Family Members of 1JNL100340-822 is controlled by the columns
Levels and 1JNL100340-819. Levels controlling the number of instances of the pin and
the other column 1JNL100340-819 control which Family Member of 1JNL100340-819
to be used.

21

22

4 METHOD
4.1 KNOWLEDGE BASED ENGINEERING
A repetitive and time demanding step in a design process can effectively be automated
by applying Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) principles, if the knowledge in the
step can be captured as rules.
KBE consists of different phases. The first phase is a scoping phase in which the
objectives and knowledge is defined in detail. Chapman (2001) suggests that meetings
with relevant engineers are held to primarily decide what the main problem is. The
meetings can be formed as a brainstorming or interviews and the goal is to establish a
layout with all the requirements of the system.
When the problem has been stated, a phase of acquisition and modeling takes places. In
this stage of the process the interaction between experts and knowledge engineers is
very important. An inventory of all the parts needed to build up the assembly is made to
clarify that they are in the party library or else they has to be created in this phase.
Chapman (2001) also suggests that a conceptual product model is created, and it could
have the appearance of a product model tree mentioned in chapter 3.8, and is a
representation of the hierarchical relationship between the Sub-Assemblies and parts of
the Product. This model will work as a first draft of the model tree in the CAD-template.
These part objects forms the building units of the KBE model.
When the product is broken down in modules it is possible to identify those containing
certain steps in the design process that benefit the most being developed into at KBE
model. Emberey (2007) suggests a checklist that can be used during the identification:

Is the process step a routine process step?

Is the process step based on formalized rules?

Is the process step complex and (therefore) iterative?

What is the lead-time of the process step?

What will be the return on investment for a KBE application?

23

Actions that dont contain deep technical knowledge and is considered routine work will
provide a high return in reduced design time if KBE is applied.

Figure 12 - Model of iterative KBE acquisition process, adapted from Emberey (2007).

The last phase is a stage of implementation, where the model is used and tested.

When using KBE one crucial aspect is how the term knowledge is defined. There are
different kinds of knowledge, which are more or less easy to identify.

Procedural knowledge vs. Conceptual knowledge.

Basic vs. Deep, Tacit knowledge.

Procedural knowledge is the knowledge someone uses when they perform some kind of
task and can be viewed as hands on knowledge. Conceptual knowledge is, as the term
implies, a knowledge someone posses about a conceptual system and the ability to see
the bigger picture.
Tacit knowledge can be described as an instinct or a gut feeling and often leads to
automatic activities that seem to require no conscious thought. Often built up by a long
time of experiences i.e. knowledge that someone gains when they practice something.

24

Tacit knowledge is very hard to describe for someone else that lack the experience and
is therefore the hardest knowledge to capture in the scoping phase.

4.2 USER ACCEPTANCE


In a process of change it is crucial to get the acceptance of the users. A social system
strives for status quo, a struggle to preserve stability. It may depend on the anxiety a
change can cause, a threat to important values such as social and economical.

Figure 13 - Dynamic conservatism, adapted from Berzelius and Skrvad

Sometimes it can be hard to leave the comfort zone and show weakness by doing things
in a new way, instead of continue to work in the same familiar and safe routines. But
one should always try to make the process of change as smooth as possible and engage
all involved by the change in the process.
Berzelius and Skrvad (2010) mention some aspects that are important during a process
of change:

That the fundamental reasons for the change are understood and the benefits of it
are perceived as eliminating problems.

Direct contact between the users and those leading the process of change.

The positive effects of the change should as soon as possible be seen during the
process, which will make the further work even more effective.

A process of change is not going to happen overnight, it is a process of


successively learning and continues improvement.

25

26

5 EMPIRICAL STUDIES
5.1

THYRISTOR VALVE STRUCTURE IDENTIFICATION

With the help of the BOM, documentation and interviews with the specialists at the
department of TVM, a Product Model Tree showing the hierarchical decomposition of
a HVDC Classic Thyristor Valve was created and can be seen in figure 14.

Figure 14 - Product Structure of the Thyristor Valve visualized with a Product Model Tree.

The Thyristor Valve is the highest level of the assembly and in the level directly
underneath seven sub-assemblies can be found. These sub-assemblies are typical
building units in a Thyristor Valve and every each and one of them can be viewed on
as a product family module with different configurations depending on the desired
variant of the assembly. An easy way of looking at the development process of a new
project is that the right variants of the sub-assemblies is designed and then assembled to
build up the Thyristor Valve with the right properties and performance required by the
Customer. In figure 15 an example of a Thyristor Valve CAD-model can be seen.

27

To be able to create a high level CAD-template of the Thyristor Valve, all the subassemblies must be investigated. And then, with respect to the commonality between the
different configurations of the sub-assemblies and which parameters they are driven by,
decide if they are suitable to be developed into a template of their own.

Figure 15 - CAD-model of a Thyristor Valve

A decision was made that the first sub-assembly to be investigated was the Module
Assembly. The reasons for that are primarily, as the name implies that it is a module
that can be assumed to have a high commonality between different configurations. And
secondly it was suggested during the interviews that the Module Assembly was built up
by repetitive instances and the configurations were well documented with formalized
rules.

28

5.1.1

Module Assemby

In the Module Assembly all the functional parts of the Thyristor Valve, such as the
thyristors, capacitors and control units can be found and in total it contains up to 70
percent of the components in a Thyristor Valve. As seen in figure 14 the Module
Assembly consists of the two sub-assemblies Thyristor Module and Reactor Module.

Figure 16 The instantiation of the Reactor Module and Thyristor Module.

The main parameters controlling the topology and instantiation of the Module
Assembly can be seen in table 1.
Table 1 Parameters that control the Module Assembly

Module Assembly
Current (High or Low)

Controls topology and instantiation of


conductors, shields, screws, washers and bolts.

Current (Up or Down)

Controls topology of the first Layer.

Nr of Levels (integers)

Controls instantiation of all components in the


assembly.

Nr of Waterpipes (2 or 3)

Controls topology
waterpipes support.

Spacing (1100 or 1250 [mm])

Controls topology and instantiation of all


components in the assembly.

Shields (On or Off)

Controls instantiation of shields and some


scews.

29

and

instantiation

of

Something that really varies between different Module Assemblies is the variant of
Thyristor Module and Reactor Module used. In order to see the connection and create
a rule for this an investigation of those two sub-assemblies had to be done.

30

5.1.2 Reactor Module


Each Reactor Module consists of two Reactors called Reactor Assembled (figure 17).

Figure 17 - Reactor Module Structure and CAD-model.

The parameters used to control which configuration of the Reactor Module to be used
was identified as Current High or Low, Nr of C-Cores and Shims Configuration and
how the parameters control the Reactor Module and its sub-assembly can be seen in
table 2.

Table 2 - Parameters that control the Reactor Module.

Current
(High or Low)

Reactor Module

Reactor Assembled

Controls topology and

Controls variant of Reactor Coil.

instantiation of screws, washers,


bolts and conductors.
Variant of Reactor Assembled

Nr of C-Cores

Variant of Reactor Assembled

Dummies, screws, springs and washers.

(8-14)
Shims Configuration

Controls topology and instantiation of C-Cores,

Variant of Reactor Assembled

(# variants)

31

Controls topology and instantiation of Shims.

When studying the Reactor Module, the outside geometry has very little changes
between the different variants. The housings are exactly the same in every variant of the
Reactor Assembled and they pretty much decide the footprint of the Reactor Module.
As seen in figure 17 the Reactor Assembled are mounted in pairs on a plate and the
only thing that changes visibly between variants is the instantiation and topology of the
conductors and the screws connecting them to the two Reactor Assembled, depending
on the parameter Current High or Low (figure 18 ).

Figure 18 - Reactor Module with High or Low Current.

In Reactor Assembled there are more variants. The conductors attached on the coil
vary with the Current High or Low. Around the coil some C-Cores are mounted, the
number of C-Cores and their position is controlled by Nr of C-Cores. They should be
evenly distributed with dummies filling up the possible empty spaces (figure 19). The
Shims Configuration decides how many shims of each two types that should be
constrained to the C-core.

32 with 14 or 8 C-Cores.
Figure 19 - Reactor Assembled

With the parameters and configurations identified, the grade of commonality between
the different variants has to be estimated or calculated. An estimation of the
commonality index, when planning the model template, can act as a guideline to the
best suited methods. Estimations can easily be made just by looking at the different
variants, and by checking the drawings for differences.
When calculating the CI for the Reactor Module, the parameters are used as a basis for
variants.

! = !". !" !"#$!% !"#$"%&%'( !" !"#$%& !"


!"#$%&' !"#$%& = 44
!"#!! = !". !" !"#$"%&%'( !" !! !"#$"%& !" !!
!"#$%&' !"#$%& !"# !! !"#$ !"#$"%&%'( = 41
!! = !"#$% !". !" !"#$%&$%' !""#$#% = 6

!" = 1

44 41
= 0,985
(39 + 39 + 40 + 40 + 41 + 41) 41

A CI of 0,985 is really high and is an indication of small variations between the


different configurations of the Reactor Module. But one has to remember that the CI
does not take in account if two Reactor Modules has different amount of instances of a
component. And therefore the way of how the instances of a component are placed
topologically has to be taken in consideration. In this case the Nr of C-Cores controls
how many instances of the C-Core that the Reactor Module should contain, and as seen
in figure 19 the C-Cores are placed in a circular pattern.
The high CI and the fact that the variable instances are placed in a well-defined pattern
should make it possible to create a parametrically driven template of the Reactor
Module and then create a Master Part with all the variants as corresponding Family
Member.

33

5.1.3 Thyristor Module


The Thyristor Module contains two sub-assemblies, the Thyristor Module and the
Capacitor Unit.

Figure 20 - CAD-model and Product Structure of a Thyristor Module

The main parameters used to control which configuration of the Thyristor Module to
be used was identified as Thyristor Type and Nr of Thyristors and how the parameters
control the Thyristor Module and its sub-assembly can be seen in table 3.

34

Table 3 Parameters that control the Thyristor Module.

Thyristor Module

Capacitor Unit

Thyristor Type

Controls topology and

(High, Low or 6inch)

instantiation of screws,

instantiation of Yokes,

washers, bolts,

screws, springs and

conductors and

washers. Controls

waterpipes.

variant of Heat Sink

Variant of Tyristor Unit.

Module.

Nr of Thyristors

Thyristor Unit
Controls topology and

Controls topology and Controls instantiation of Controls topology and


instantiation of screws, Capacitors, screws and instantiation of

(6-9)

washers, bolts,conductors washers.

Thyristors, Resistors,

and waterpipes.

screws and washers.

Variant of Tyristor Unit


and Capacitor Unit

! = !". !" !"#$!% !"#$"%&%'( !" !"#$%& !"


!!"#$%&" !"#$%& = 92
!"#!! = !". !" !"#$"%&%'( !" !! !"#$"%& !" !!
!!"#$%&" !"#$%& !"# !! !"#$ !"#$"%&%'( = 46
!! = !"#$% !". !" !"#$%&$%' !""#$#% = 9

!" = 1

92 46
= 0,844
(38 + 38 + 34 + 36 + 36 + 34 + 34 + 46 + 44) 46

35

5.1.4 Thyristor Unit


There are three different categories of Thyristor Units and they can be divided by the
parameter Thyristor Type which can be High, Low or 6inch. Thyristor Type
affects a large part of the topology and instantiation of components in the Thyristor
Unit.

Figure 21 - CAD-model of a Thyristor Module

In total 103 unique components are used in those variants of the Thyristor Unit
examined, but only 51-54 components are used in each product. The examination also
shows that the included components differ a lot between variants that correspond to
different values of Thyristor Type. Two variants that have the same Thyristor Type
shows a higher CI then between two variants that have not. The total CI for all variants
of the Thyristor Unit is:
! = !". !" !"#$!% !"#$"%&%'( !" !"#$%& !"
!!"#$%&" !"#$ = 103
!"#!! = !". !" !"#$"%&%'( !" !! !"#$"%& !" !!
!!"#$%&" !"#$ !"# !! !"#$ !"#$"%&%'( = 54
!! = !"#$% !". !" !"#$%&$%' !""#$#% = 11
!" = 1

103 54
= 0,906
(54 2 + 53 3 + 52 5 + 51 2) 54

36

The three branches of Thyristor Units make it unsuitable to be developed into one
Master Part totally automated by the method of Part Families. But if it is divided into
three templates they can separately be developed into highly parametrically driven
models. In figure 22 some of the differences between Thyristor Units with different
Thyristor Type are shown.

Figure 22 - Showing the difference between the three main variants

37

5.1.5 Capacitor Unit


The Capacitor Unit consists of a rack of capacitors. The capacitors are mounted in
pairs on a bracket and the amount of capacitor pairs is equal to the Nr of Thyristors in
the Thyristor Unit, as can be seen in figure 23.

Figure 23 - Capacitor Unit with 6 and 9 pairs of capacitors.

When comparing different variants of the Capacitor Unit it is clear that the
components shared is the bracket and all screws and washers. The type of capacitors
varies within the product family and does not follow any of the main parameters.
Therefore, it is not suitable to create a Part Family of the Capacitor Unit.

38

5.1.6 Valve Layer

Figure 24 - Valve Layer structure and a Valve layer with 6 layers

The Valve Layer contains all the structural components needed to hold up the different
levels of a Thyristor Valve. It also contains water pipes for cooling of the components
in the Module Assembly, as well as light guide installations and conductors. Valve
Layers from five different Thyristor Valves has been used as guidelines and to
calculate the CI.

39

The parameters identified to control the Valve Layer can be found in table 4.
Table 4 Parameters that control the Valve Layer

Valve Layer
Current High or Low (High or Low)

Controls topology and instantiation of


conductors, shields, screws, washers and bolts.

Current up or down (up or down)

Controls topology of the valve layer structure,


such as brackets and level spacing.

Nr of Levels (integers)

Controls instantiation of the valve layers.

Nr of Waterpipes (2 or 3)

Controls topology and


brackets, clamps and pipes.

Spacing (1100 or 1250 [mm])

Controls topology and instantiation of all


components in the assembly.

Shields On or Off (On or Off)

Controls topology of shields.

instantiation

of

The geometry of the Valve Layer is linear in all directions, as seen in figure 24. The
Valve structure is build up with layers instantiated, to a level needed to fit the Module
Assembly. A challenge in the Valve Layer is the switching of the current direction. The
change of Current up or down results in a mirroring of the whole assembly plus
rotating it 180 degrees (figure 25). Many components also have to be moved or directly
switch places with others .

Figure 25 - Two Valve Layers with Current up respectively down

40

! = !". !" !"#$!% !"#$"%&%'( !" !"#$%& !"


!"#$% !"#$% = 130
!"#!! = !". !" !"#$"%&%'( !" !! !"#$"%& !" !!
!"#$% !"#$% !"# !! !"#$ !"#$"%&%'( = 63
!! = !"#$% !". !" !"#$%&$%' !""#$#% = 5

The commonality in this product family is a lot lower than in the Reactor Module, but
still high enough to make most of the assembly parametrically driven. The controlling
parameters are more in numbers and so is the number of components. The geometry is
well suited for parameterization and automation though, containing mostly linear
patterns.
Some components are going to be excluded on this assembly level because they are
project unique parts and those are hard to capture any rules for.

5.2 EMPIRICAL STUDIES SUMMIT


Due to the limited time for completing the thesis, some delimitation had to be done and
it was decided that the Module Assembly and Valve Layer should be focused on. The
other sub-assemblies in the Thyristor Valve are not going to be analyzed in the thesis
but they will be taken into account when developing the templates.
In chapter 5.1.1 it was decided to first analyze the sub-assemblies in the lowest level
before it was possible to say something definite about the Module Assembly.
The Reactor Module showed to be suitable to be created into a Master Part with
associated Family Members. But the Thyristor Module did not have the same level of

41

commonality and the internal components differed too much between two products with
different Thyristor Types.
Therefore the Module Assembly cannot by developed into a fully automated template.
There is major knowledge about how the main parameters affect the hierarchal structure
of the Module Assembly and it should be able to build a highly flexible and
parametrically driven template.

42

6 RESULTS
The work done at ABB has resulted in several fully parametrically driven templates,
covering at least 70 percent of the total number of components. The most important
variables have been captured by and then included in the parameters of the assemblies.
All components used have been cloned in NX, meaning they are not the original parts
but copies of them. The cloned components are identical to the original ones besides
that they have got a new article number. The decision to use cloned components was
taken by the supervisors at the start of the thesis. To fully get use of the template and
produce correct BOM the cloned components have to be replaced with the original ones.
The cloned components can be backtracked to the original article number due to the
information provided in the description field, added during the cloning process by the
thesis writers.

6.1 PARAMETRICAL ASSEMBLIES


The main parameters, identified in Empirical Studies, where used as parameters in the
CAD-models in order to control the topology and instantiation of internal components.
This can be done in several kinds of ways, but in this thesis the methods used are
mainly Component Array and Suppressed by Expression. The value of the main
parameters affects expressions that either controls the number of instances in an array,
the distance between instances, suppression of a component or how the components are
constrained.

6.1.1

Suppressed by Expression

The Replace Component function is only able to automate with Part Families.
Suppression by expression has been used instead when a component needs to be
replaced between variants, in a case where Part Families have not been applied. It is
also used when a component has a non-linear movement between the different variants,

43

for example when it has to be rotated. When a component is suppressed, another one is
unsuppressed in the valid position.

Figure 26 - Example of Expressions used to suppress components

In the field suppress by expression the name of an expression is typed. The expression
in turn contains an if- rule that exports a value of zero or one (figure 26). The value zero
suppresses the component and the value one makes it unsuppressed.

6.1.2 Component Array


In the created assemblies all Component Array variables are linked to expressions to
easily control them. This function is very important to be able to easily add or delete
components, and by linking to expressions whole levels can be added by just changing a
parameter instead of manually place and constrain components.
When a component with several instances is supposed to be suppressed, the total
number of instances has to be decreased down to one. If it isnt, the instantiated
components will not be suppressed. The formula below is an example of this from the
Valve Layer template.

Figure 27 - Example of expression from Component Array

44

Figure 28 - Component Array taken from Valve Layer assembly

As seen in figure 28, from the Valve Layer assembly, the parameter Nr of Layers has been
increased to three. The Spacing is set to 1250 so the rule from figure 27 sets the number of
instances in the array to three. The offset in the array is linked to the value of Spacing, therefore
it is 1250 mm between the instances.

6.1.3 Part Families


Of the modules analyzed the Reactor Module had all those characteristics that made it
suitable for using the method of Part Families. The assembly was well suited for that
method, containing circular and linear arrays of components. The CI was very close to
1, motivating the decision to use the method.

The model was created and all the variants where built in and controlled by the
parameters. With the help of the function Part Families all the variants of the Reactor

45

Module then automatically was created. In total there are 48 products in the Part
Family of Reactor Modules and their appearance can only be controlled from the
parameterized Master Part model and its associated spreadsheet.
When creating a Master Part of the Reactor Module, the sub-assembly Reactor
Assembled has to be created as a Master Part and then be placed in the Reactor
Module.
In appendix2 the table for the Reactor Assembled can be seen, the two first columns
are filled in manually and provide the variants with unique article number. The other
three columns are the parameters and their value or configuration for each variant.
When all Family Members are created the Master Part can be used as a sub-assembly in
the level above, the Reactor Module. The variant of the Reactor Assembled used in
the Reactor Module are controlled from the spreadsheet inside the Part Families
function. In appendix 3 a schematic figure of the method is shown.

6.2 MODELING OF A NEW THYRISTOR VALVE


Due to the delimitations made during the thesis it is not possible to describe how to
build the whole Thyristor Valve, but the methods used for the Module Assembly and
Valve Layer can later on be applied when the other sub-assemblies will be taken on.

Figure 29 - Two Layers of the Module Assembly and the Valve Layer

46

In this trial Fenno-Skan 2 are going to be used as a proof of concept and the main
parameters of this Thyristor Valve can be seen in table 5.

Table 5 Main parameter values of Fenno-Skan 2

Current High or Low

Low

Current up or down

down

Layers

Spacing

1250 mm

Sheilds on or off

on

Nr of Waterpipes 2 or 3

Thyristor Type

Low

Nr of Thyristor

Both Thyristor Modules with 8 and 9


Thyristors

Nr of Cores

13

Shims Configuration

1 T05 and 1 T0,25 per each C-Core gap.

47

Even though the Valve Layer and Module Assembly are built up with a Top-down
approach with the topology controlled by the parametrically driven skeleton (appendix
1), when designing a new variant of the Thyristor Valve some bottom-up is needed.

Lets start with the Module Assembly:

The fact that the Thyristor Module has not been fully developed into a Master Part
with associated Family Members created, means that some manual changes has to be
done to get the wanted variant. As it was implied in Emperical Studies the product
family of the Thyristor Module consists of three branches, and three different
templates has been developed. Therefore when building up a new variants it is easiest to
start with the Thyristor Module template with the right Thyristor Type and these can
be seen in figure 30.

Figure 30 - The three Thyristor Module templates

48

Fenno-Skan 2 should have two variants of a Current Low Thyristor Module with 8
respectivly 9 Nr of Thyristors. The Current Low Thyristor Module template
consists of a Thyristor Unit and a Capacitor Unit and these two sub-assemblies must
be adjusted to suit the wanted variants. The sub-assemblies then need to be saved as a
new item because every new variant needs a unique article number. Then the default
sub-assemblies in the Current Low Thyristor Module template are replaced with the
new unique ones and some components also need to be manually placed in the assembly
to match the customer requirements. This will result in two variants of the Current
Low Thyristor Modules and they can be seen in figure 31.

Figure 31 - The two variants of Thyristor Modules used in Fenno-Skan 2

49

All variants of the Reactor Module has already been created and the requested variant
can directly be placed in the Module Assembly and how this is done will be shown in
the next step.

When the two modules are created and saved with new article numbers the next step
will be to customize the assembly they will be placed in, namely the Module Assembly.

50

Start by open up the template of the Module Assembly, and locate the expressions
shown in figure 32.

Figure 32 Module Assembly corresponding to the certain values of the main parameters.

The default values of the parameters need to be changed to those corresponding to


Fenno-Skan 2.

Figure 33 - The hierarchical structure of the Module Assembly of Fenno-Skan 2

51

Now the topology of the Thyristor Module is set but there is still a need to replace the
Thyristor Module and Reactor Module placed in the template to those created for
Fenno-Skan 2.

Figure 34 Selected Modules to replace and the Replace Component dialog box

Due to the parametrically driven structure used when creating the templates they can be
replaced without any problems, with all the needed constrains valid and all the rules
intact in the Module Assembly.
When modifying and replacing the Reactor Module in the Module Assembly it is in
almost the same way. Select the default variants of the Reactor Module, right click and
press Replace Components. Then select the Reactor Module Master Part and by doing
that the Part Families dialog appears. The Family Attributes are selected in the same
way shown in appendix 4 and needs to be set to match the parameters in table 5.

52

Open up the template of the Valve Layer, and locate the expressions shown in figure
35.

Figure 35 - The Valve Layer corresponding to the certain values of the main parameters

The default values of the parameters need to be changed to those corresponding to


Fenno-Skan 2.

Figure 36 - Valve Layer of Fenno-Skan 2

53

Most of the Valve Layer is now built up in line with Fenno-Skan 2, but the template is
not totally automated and some components now need to be manually placed in the
assembly.
The last step is to merge the Module Assembly and Valve Layer and add them to the
Thyristor Valve assembly. The global coordinate system in the sub-assemblies have
been placed in a smart way so that they will automatically be align to the coordinate
system of the Thyristor Valve and no further movements are needed. The result can be
seen in figure 37.

Figure 37 - Fenno-Skan 2 with the two sub-assemblies Valve Layer and Module Assembly

The two sub-assemblies of Fenno-Skan 2 together contains about 48,000 parts, which
really are a great amount and obviously the Thyristor Valve are going to contain even
more when the model is fully completed.

54

7 DISCUSSION
This thesis shows that design automation can reduce repetitive and time-consuming
work. Within the department there is little experience of designing HVDC Classic
Thyristor Valves in NX, which makes it hard to evaluate the potential time savings
achieved by the work of the thesis. But discussions with the supervisors indicate that a
more efficient design process is possible with the provided results. Covering at least 70
percent of the total number of parts is a satisfying and reasonable achievement.

The delimitations made during the process was truly needed and proved to be crucial for
the work. With more time at our hands more sub-assemblies could have been developed
into parametrical driven templates, but to fully automate a complete Thyristor Valve
could, as mentioned in the introduction, be an endless task.
The template assemblies created during the thesis are a solid base for cutting the design
time of a Thyristor Valve. Covering most of the existing components leaves only little
work to customize the valve to meet the specific character. As the hierarchy is well
defined, more assemblies can be created with similar methods to cover even more
components. The skeleton geometry makes it easy to assemble the models and the
assemblies are designed to be easy to understand, with logical and consistent
Component Arrays. The assemblies will need some maintaining and development to get
more user-friendly.
Though its hard to discuss about any time savings, the employees and the supervisors
indicate that some operations will be much faster with the template assemblies. The
switching of current direction in the Valve Layer assembly was a very time demanding
task in Microstation, which now can be performed in twenty seconds.
One thing to criticize is how suppression by expression has been used in the templates
to control involved components. Fulfilling the conditions of the BOM made the use of
suppressing necessary. This can be solved with Part Families, but is quite complex

55

when the CI isnt high enough or the number of variations becomes unmanageable. The
disadvantage with the use of suppression by expression is that it eliminates the option to
suppress components by arrangement, an easy way to simplify the model when needed.
Especially screw materials are unnecessary to graphically be visualized in the highest
level and because they make up a major part of the total assembly there can be much to
gain in terms of computer performance to not display the screw materials. Teamcenter
might have a function for simplifying, pointing out that future investigations have to be
done in that area.
CI was a good indicator and helped motivating the grade of automation in the different
assemblies. A product family with higher CI was proved to fit better for design
automation, with bearing in mind the topology of the product. The CI acted as a
guideline together with the geometry of the analyzed product. A specific value of the
CI which strongly motivates design automation hasnt been found. Identified patterns
and common interface points in the product geometry can be analyzed, combining them
into a geometrical model containing help-geometry to define constrains and Component
Arrays.
The fact that every component had to be cloned in NX made a time-consuming process.
It was important though too meet the goal of the thesis and get the freedom of choice to
modify properties. The result now consists of only cloned components except parts from
the standard library. The tagging system has worked well for the work during the thesis
and designers should be able to create drawings with them as they are exact copies of
the originals. The template today lacks the ability to produce BOM due to the incorrect
article numbers. A future intention is to replace the cloned components with the original
ones, further increasing the usability.
Setbacks have occurred during the progress. Many solutions had to take several
iterations of testing and implementation before validating the compatibility. Every
mistake or setback produced new knowledge itself for the work, which ended up in
further capturing of rules and exceptions. A major obstacle was that the information
available is huge, and yet there is probably even more information stored as tacit
knowledge. The closeness to the designers though helped a lot in the information
gathering process. Many rules have been extracted from old drawings but the ability to

56

anytime ask the designers a question about a specific component or valve was important
for the thesis. The gathering of information and knowledge has in some cases proved to
be faster and more effective when it has been done with interviews and meetings with
the experts. It has been important to involve the future users in the process, see chapter
4.2. A combination of interviews and documentation was suitable for extracting the
most knowledge.
Using KBE theories and methods gave a result that is useful in the future, by
implementing rules in the CAD-templates with expert knowledge stored in them. It is
important that the implementation in the knowledge model is documented, for future
updating or backtracking. Using models that is understandable, bug free and built up in
a logical way following the products properties becomes important when other users
pick up the work. The structure of the model should be well defined to be suited for
topological transformation, so top-down design is preferable. In this case the product
structure was already set by the BOM, limiting the freedom of choice in the CADassemblies. It would have been an advantage from a design point of view to not have
followed these lists, saving work in both analyzing and modeling. But as mentioned in
the introduction, one goal was to give the template an ability to produce correct lists and
that ability is provided in the result.

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58

8 CONCLUSION AND FUTURE STUDIES


8.1 CONCLUSION
This thesis result meets its goal by using the methods of Knowledge Based Engineering.
By gathering information from documentation and interviews the expertise of the
designers could be identified and captured. The knowledge stored is in certain cases
hard to extract, such as tacit knowledge. To implement knowledge into a model it can
be converted to rules. The rules are stored in a knowledge model as data and formulas,
providing the specialists knowledge to others.
Further a product family should have the qualities of a high Commonality Index to be
developed into a parametrically driven template. The thesis has shown that topological
transformation is suitable when linear on circular patterns are identified in an assembly.
The geometry and structure identified in the different products of the family is essential
to the design of the template. To get the most effect out of automation and design reuse,
the geometric model should be well planned and organized. Transformations, both
topological and morphological, cause disorder in the model. To avoid that, a skeleton of
geometry with precisely defined and named interfaces is preferable to use.

8.2 FUTURE STUDIES


To develop this work, the template needs to be set on trial and be more evaluated.
Hopefully the template will be used in the department and only then strengths and
weaknesses will appear. The template will need maintaining, to always be up to date,
such as adding new variants to the set of rules.
To simplify even more for the operating designer, an investigation of possible interfaces
is suggested. A possible plug-in to use is the Product Template Studio, or built-in
functions in Teamcenter. To fully get use of the template and produce correct BOM the
cloned components have to be replaced with the original ones with correct article
numbers.

59

9 REFERENCES
WRITTEN
Amadori, Kristian. Geometry Based Design Automation Applied to Aircraft
Modelling and Optimization. Dissertations, No 1418. Linkping 2012
Berzelius, L. Skrvad P-H. Integrerad Organisationslra, Studentlitteratur, Lund,
2010.
Chapman, C.B. Pinfold, M. The application of a knowledge based engineering
approach to rapid design and analysis of an automotive structure. In: Advances in
Engineering Software 32 (2001) 903-912
Emberey, C.L. Application of Knowledge Engineering Methodologies to Support
Engineering Design Application Development in Aerospace. 7th AIAA Aviation
Technology, Integration and Operations Conference (ATIO) 18-20 September 2007,
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Desai, M., S .Kekre, S. Radhakrishnan and Srinivasa. Product differentiation and
commonality in design: balancing revenue and cost drivers. 2001 Manage. Sci, 47: 3751.
Fujita, K. Sakaguchi, H. Akagi, S. PRUDUCT VARIETY DEPLOYMENT AND ITS
OPTIMIZATION

UNDER

COMMONALIZATION.

MODULAR

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ARCHITECURE

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MODULE
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Conferences, Las Vegas, Nevada.


Kott, A. Cederquist, A. THE ROLE OF PRODUCT MODELING IN CONCURRENT
ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTS. In: International Journal of Systems Automation:
Research and Applications (SARA) 2, 1-16, 1992
Peltonen, H. Concepts and an Implementation for Product Data Management. Acta
Polytechnica Scandinavica, Mathematics and Computing Series No. 105, Espoo 2000,
188 pp. Published by the Finnish Academies of Technology. ISBN 951-666-538-1.
ISSN 1456-9418.

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Tarkian, Mehdi. Design Reuse and Automation On High Level CAD Modeling for
Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization. Thesis, No 1419 Department of
management and engineering, division of machine design, Linkping 2009.


ONLINE
Siemens PLM Automation homepage, NX Mechanical design:
http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/se_se/products/nx/design/mechanical/index.sh
tml
ABB HVDC homepage:
http://www.abb.com/industries/us/9AAF400197.aspx

ABB homepage:
http://www.abb.se


ORAL
Burman, Michael. Mechanical Valve Designer, TVM
Dahlgren, Stellan. Mechanical Valve Designer, TVM
Nilsson, Madelene. Mechanical Valve Designer, TVM

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APPENDIX 1 SKELETON GEOMETRY

APPENDIX 2 PART FAMILIES SPREADSHEET

APPENDIX 3 REACTOR MODULE LEVELS

APPENDIX 4 ADDING A REACTOR MODULE