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HOW CASE-BASED METHODS CAN AUTOMATE

FLUIDIC CIRCUIT DESIGN
Benno STEIN
University of Paderborn
Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science—Knowledge-Based Systems
D–33095 Paderborn, Germany
++49 (0) 5251 60 3348 (Phone) / 3338 (Fax)
stein@uni-paderborn.de
Designing a system means to transform a set of demands, D, towards an explicit system description, S. In the
field of fluidic circuit design, components like pumps, valves, and cylinders are used to construct S. From a
configurational standpoint a designer selects, parameterizes, and connects components such that D is fulfilled by
the emerging circuit.
Actually, fluidic circuit design is not tackled at the component level. Instead, a designer develops a mental model
of the desired system, which is placed at the level of function, F. Hence, a more adequate characterization of the
design process is D −→ F −→ S.
Using the concept of fluidic axes, the step F −→ S can be automated by means of case-based reasoning. Motivated
by these observations we have developed a case-based design approach for hydraulic systems.
Keywords: Fluidic Circuit Design, Case-Based Reasoning, Design Automation, Hydraulics
1 INTRODUCTION
Fluidic drives are used to realize a variety of production and manipulation tasks. Even for an
experienced engineer, the design of a fluidic system is a complex and time-consuming task,
which, at the moment, cannot be automated completely. Designing a system means to trans-
form a set of demands, D, towards an explicit system description, S. From a configurational
standpoint a designer of a fluidic system selects, parameterizes, and connects components like
pumps, valves, and cylinders such that D is fulfilled by the emerging circuit.
D −→ S
However, fluidic circuit design is not tackled at the component level. Instead, a designer devel-
ops a mental model of the desired system, which is placed at the level of function, F. A more
adequate characterization of the design process is the following.
D −→ F −→ S
Based on the concept of fluidic axes, it is possible to automate the step F −→ S. A fluidic
axis fulfills some subfunction f, and, in order to realize a complex function F := ¦f
1
, . . . , f
n
¦,
several fluidic axes must be coupled in the right way. Motivated by these observations we have
developed a case-based design approach for hydraulic systems, where the following compo-
nents interplay:
• A case base CB with hydraulic axes from previously solved design problems.
• A similarity function σ that maps from a desired function f ∈ F to hydraulic axes in CB.
• A rule-based modification concept for the adaptation of unsatisfactory fitting axes.
• A composition scheme that hierarchically couples several axes respecting F.
This paper outlines the design approach;
1
it is organized as follows. The next section gives an
introduction to case-based reasoning. Section 3 develops the main contribution of this paper, a
case-based design approach for fluidic systems. Section 4 presents a prototypic design assistant
that operationalizes the outlined ideas.
2 CASE-BASED REASONING
Let a case combine a description of a problem Problem
Revised
case
Similar
cases
Case base
Adapted
case
R
e
t
r
i
e
v
e
R
e
u
s
e
R
e
v
i
s
e
R
e
t
a
i
n
Problem
Solution
Figure 1: The classical CBR cycle.
along with a solution. Basic idea of case-based rea-
soning (CBR) is to exploit previously solved cases
when solving a new problem. I. e., a collection of
cases is browsed for the most similar case, which
then is adapted to the newsituation. The commonly
accepted CBR cycle shown in Figure 1 goes back
to Aamodt and Plaza (1994) and is comprised of
four steps:
1. Retrieve. A case relevant for the problem is
retrieved.
2. Reuse. Having performed more or less adap-
tations, the retrieved case may be reused.
3. Revise. Having evaluated the adapted case,
additional repair adaptations may be applied.
4. Retain. The new case, consisting of the prob-
lem along with a solution, is stored.
2.1 Design Problem Solving and CBR
Configuration, design, synthesis—these terms stand for problem classes where the AI paradigm
“generate and test” has been applied rather successfully (Brown and Chandrasekaran 1989,
Cunis et al. 1989, Marcus and McDermott 1989). CBR, however, follows the paradigm“retrieve
and adapt” (Leake 1995). Both concepts can work fine together to solve design problems.
A previously solved design problem that contributes a good deal to the desired solution may
bound difficult synthesis and adaptation tasks to a tractable rest problem. Following this idea,
the starting position of a design problem should be created with CBR methods, while for the
heuristic and search-intensive adaptation tasks other AI paradigms come into play.
As mentioned at the outset, a design problem is stated by a set of user demands, D; a solution
to a design problem is a system, S, which can be understood as a collection of objects or as
some kind of construction plan. S is a solution of the design problem D, if the behavior of the
system S complies with D.
1
There exist other approaches to hydraulic circuit design, such as (Piechnick and Feuser 1994, Fluidon GmbH
1992). The main difference to the approach presented here is that only predefined circuit topologies are treated. An
exception is the SCHEMEBUILDER system, which allows for the construction of simple parallel topologies (Oh et
al. 1994, da Silva and Dawson 1997); however, the system is not able to verify its design proposal by a simulation.
Remarks. There exist two concepts of how a problem’s solution can be defined: One of them
codes the problem solving process, the other codes the result of a problem solving process,
for example in the form of a system description S. From this distinction result two analogy
concepts in CBR, namely that of derivational analogy (belonging to the former) and that of
transformational analogy (belonging to the latter) (Carbonell 1986, Goel and Chandrasekaran
1989, Hinrichs and Kolodner 1991). For reasons of clearness, the considerations of this paper
are oriented at the latter, i. e., at the system description view, but they could be reformulated to
the process-centered view as well.
Definition
2.1
(Case, Case base, Query). Let D be a set of demand sets, and let S be a set of
systems. A case C is a tuple C = ¸D, S), D ∈ D, S ∈ S, where S constitutes a solution for
D. A set CB consisting of cases is called a case base. A case of the form q = ¸D, ) is called
query or problem definition to a case base.
When given a query q = ¸D, ) to a case base CB, two jobs must be done to obtain a solution to
q. (i) Retrieval of a similar case c, and (ii) adaptation of c such that D is fulfilled.
Weß (1995) mentions three approaches to define similarity: Similarity based on predicates,
similarity based on a preference relation, and the most generic concept, similarity based on a
measure. In connection with design problem solving, only the last is powerful enough, and the
following definition will formalize a similarity measure for design case bases.
Definition
2.2
(Case Similarity, Similarity Measure). Given is a symmetric function σ : D
D →[0; 1], which additionally has the reflexivity property, σ(D
1
, D
2
) = 1 ⇔ D
1
= D
2
.
Moreover, let c
1
= ¸D
1
, S
1
) and c
2
= ¸D
2
, S
2
), c
1
, c
2
∈ CB, be two cases. Then the case
similarity sim : CBCB → [0; 1] is defined by means of σ in the following way: sim(c
1
, c
2
) =
σ(D
1
, D
2
); σ is called a similarity measure.
Remarks. (i) The semantics of σ shall be as follows. The more similar two demand sets D
1
and
D
2
are, the larger shall be their value σ(D
1
, D
2
). (ii) The symmetry property guarantees that
sim(c
1
, c
2
) = sim(c
2
, c
1
); the reflexivity property defines the self-similarity of a case.
3 CASE-BASED DESIGN OF FLUIDIC SYSTEMS
Typically, a case-based reasoning approach to a design problem is realized in a monolithic
manner—by mapping a complex set of demands, D, directly onto a system S ∈ CB. This
approach is absolutely futile here since a case base CB that provides adequate solutions for the
entire variety of fluidic demand sets can neither be set up nor maintained.
In contrast to such a monolithic view, the presented approach is grounded on the principle of
“functional composition” (Stein 1996). The principle says that
1. each set of demands, D, can be decomposed into a set of functions, F = ¦f
1
, . . . , f
n
¦,
2. each function f ∈ F can be mapped one to one onto a hydraulic axis that realizes f,
3. the coupling type between the hydraulic axes (series, parallel, sequential, etc.) can be
derived from D.
While the first point goes in accordance with reality, point 2 and point 3 imply that no subfunc-
tion f is realized by either a combination of several axes or by constructional side effects.
Under this working hypothesis a demand set D can be transformed towards a fluidic system S
within two steps: by designing a fluidic axis A for each f implied by D, and by coupling these
axes in a qualified way. Figure 2 depicts this view.
Hydraulic
subfunctions
Hydraulic axes
S D
F = {f
1
, ..., f
n
} {A
1
, ..., A
m
}
Composition
of axes
Case-based
design
Figure 2: Automating fluidic circuit design by functional composition.
Taking this simplifying view of the design process, the step F −→ ¦A
1
, . . . , A
m
¦ can be real-
ized by CBR methods—provided that the following can be developed: a similarity measure for
hydraulic functions and an adaptation concept for hydraulic axes.
The following subsections introduce the case-based design approach in greater detail. We start
by illustrating the three before-mentioned abstraction levels of fluidic design problems, D, F,
and S. The next but one subsection develops a similarity measure for functions f ∈ F. This
measure is vital to realize the retrieve step in the CBR approach: For a given f it identifies the
most similar fluidic axis A from a case base of axes. The subsection thereafter is devoted to
the revise step: It is shown in which way a misfitting axis can be adapted. The last subsection
describes the step ¦A
1
, . . . , A
m
¦ −→ S, i. e., it is shown how the retrieved and adapted axes are
connected to a system.
3.1 Abstraction Levels of Fluidic Design Problems
A fluidic design problem can be described at different levels (layers) of abstraction. From the
standpoint of a design process the following layers are important: the demand layer, which
defines the desired set of demands D, the functional layer, which defines the implied function
F, and the component layer, which defines the system S.
Demand Layer, D. The layer of demands contains the entire specification for a fluidic system.
Vier et al. (1997) discuss possible demands in detail, such as tolerance constraints, operating
restrictions, boundary values, etc. Central elements of D, however, are the cylinder profiles,
which prescribe the courses of the forces, the velocities, or the pressure. Implicitly, these pro-
files characterize particular phases of the working process, such as a speed phase, a slowing
down phase, or a press phase.
Figure 3 shows cylinder profiles for a hydraulic system that operates in the low pressure range
and that contains two working elements, w
1
, w
2
, which have to perform a combined manipula-
tion and pressing task.
1 2 3 4
s
t
1 2 3 4
Pressure hold at 35 Bar
s
t
w
1
w
2
Figure 3: Desired cylinder profiles for a hydraulic system.
Functional Layer, F. A functional view can be derived from D by identifying the working
phases within the cylinder profiles, by globally arranging these phases, and by combining them
within functions f. Typically, each function f ∈ F is realized by a fluidic (here: hydraulic)
axis. The functional layer specifies these axes as well as their couplings according to the global
phase interplay, say, the order restrictions of the phases.
Figure 4 shows the functional layer that
Working element Phase Phase Type
w
1
P
1.1
Constant drive: 0.5 m/s
w
1
P
1.2
Constant drive: −0.5 m/s
w
2
P
2.1
Pressure hold: 35 Bar
w
2
P
2.2
Driving in
Table 1: Phases identified in the cylinder profiles.
corresponds to the demand layer of Fig-
ure 3. Here, four phases have been iden-
tified (see Table 1), globally arranged,
and combined within two functions, f
1
and f
2
. The respective hydraulic axes
must be coupled sequentially to realize
D—a fact which is reflected by the cou-
pling hierarchy.
Phase order restrictions
Global phase interplay
Coupling hierarchy
directly
after
P
1.1
P
1.2
P
2.1
P
2.2
P
1.2
P
2.1
P
2.2
P
1.1
t 0 2 4 5
P
1.2
P
2.1
P
2.2
P
1.1
f
1
f
2
f
1
f
2
sequential
Figure 4: Corresponding functional description for the above cylinder profiles.
Component Layer, S. The component layer defines the
A
1
A
2
Figure 5: Circuit that realizes the
functional description of above.
structure and all components of the fluidic system. They
form, along with the component parameters, the solution of
the design problem. For each function of the functional layer
there is a hardware counterpart in the form of a fluidic axis.
These axes are coupled according to the coupling hierarchy.
Figure 5 shows a component layer that corresponds to the
functional layer of Figure 4. For each of the functions, f
1
,
f
2
, a hydraulic axis (A
1
and A
2
) is given.
3.2 A Similarity Measure for
Hydraulic Functions
The desired demands, D, at a hydraulic system imply a set
of hydraulic subfunctions, ¦f
1
, . . . , f
n
¦, each of which to
be realized with a particular hydraulic axis A. Supposed
there is a case base, CB, with cases of the form ¸f, A), and
a query, ¸f
d
, ), for which a suited hydraulic axis shall be
retrieved from CB. Then a mapping, σ, with the following
properties is required.
Phase type POSITION CONSTANT ACCELERATE HOLD.POS PRESS FAST HOLD.PRESS
POSITION 1 0.3 0.5 0 0.3 0.7 0
CONSTANT 0.3 1 0 0 0.7 0.7 0
ACCELERATE 0.5 0 1 0 0.2 0.4 0
HOLD.POS 0 0 0 1 0.3 0.0 0.6
PRESS 0.3 0.7 0.2 0.3 1 0.0 0.8
FAST 0.7 0.7 0.4 0.0 0.0 1 0.0
HOLD.PRESS 0 0 0 0.6 0.8 0.0 1
Table 2: The similarity between two phase types, σ
pt
.
1. σ is defined on the domain T T, where T is a set that comprises the possible hydraulic
functions f.
2. σ is a similarity measure as defined on page 3.
3. “σ(f
d
, f
r
) = max¦σ(f
d
, f) [ ¸f, A) ∈ CB¦” ⇔
“¸f
r
, A
r
) ∈ CB is the best case in CB to realize f
d
”.
Remarks. The similarity measure σ estimates two hydraulic functions respecting their simi-
larity. It maps from the Cartesian product of the hydraulic functions domain onto the interval
[0; 1]. The last property, 3, postulates that σ should become maximum only for those cases in
CB that realize the demanded function f
d
best.
The elementary characteristic of a hydraulic function f is defined by both the sequence and the
type of its phases. Valuating two hydraulic functions respecting their similarity thus means to
compare their phases. However, the phases in turn are characterized by their type, duration,
distance, force, or precision, and each of which can be quantified by a special phase similarity
measure. Table 2 gives a sample quantification for σ
pt
, the similarity of two phases’ types,
which is the most important phase characteristic and which is used in the following definition.
Definition
3.1
(Similarity Measure for Hydraulic Functions Based on Phase Types). Let the
hydraulic function f
1
designate the phase sequence (p
1
1
, . . . , p
1n
) ∈ T, and let the hydraulic
function f
2
designate the phase sequence (p
2
1
, . . . , p
2m
) ∈ T for some n, m ∈ N. A phase type
based similarity measure for hydraulic functions, σ : T T → [0; 1] is defined as follows:
σ(f
1
, f
2
) =
1
max¦n, m¦
min{m,n}

i=1
σ
pt
(p
1
i
, p
2
i
)
Remarks. Obviously does σ fulfill the conditions of a similarity measure. Note that in the case
n ,= m not all phases will match and hence not all phases are considered in the computation of
σ. A fact, which does reflect our comprehension of similarity in most cases—it does not if, for
instance, f
1
and f
2
are described at different levels of detail. This and other shortcomings have
been addressed in the work of Hoffmann (1999): He proposed and realized an algorithm that
enables a smart matching between phase sequences varying in length.
3.3 Adapting Fluidic Axes
By means of the above similarity measure for hydraulic functions, σ, the k most similar cases
can be retrieved from a case base of hydraulic axes given a query ¸f
d
, ). Note, however, that
these cases merely form solution candidates; usually, a retrieved case must be adapted to fulfill
the demanded hydraulic function f
d
. Case adaptation plays a key role in case-based design
(Kolodner 1993) and is performed within the reuse step (bring to mind Figure 1 again).
The following definition specifies the terms “modification” and “adaptation”. While each adap-
tation represents a modification, the inverse argumentation does not hold: A modification of
some case does establish an adaptation only, if the modified object of the case—in our setting
a modified hydraulic axis A

—does fulfill the demanded function f
d
to a higher degree than the
unmodified axis A of the original case.
Definition
3.2
(Modification, Adaptation). Let c = ¸f, A) ∈ CB be a case, and let q = ¸f
d
, )
be a query. A modification of c respecting q is a function µ : T CB → T /, with
µ(f
d
, c) = ¸f

, A

). A modification of c is called an adaptation of c if the following condition
holds:
2
sim(¸f

, A

), q) > sim(¸f, A), q)
Case adaptation can be realized in different ways. A popular approach is the formulation of
adaptation knowledge in the formof (heuristic) modification rules (Stein and Vier 1998, Barletta
and Hennessy 1989, Hennessy and Hinkle 1991). In technical domains where the behavior of
the system to be adapted is well understood, a particular type of modification rules, called
“scaling” rules here, can be employed to encode modification knowledge.
Definition
3.3
(Scale Function, Scalable, Scaling). Given is a query q = ¸f
d
, ), a subset of
the demanded hydraulic function f

d
⊆ f
d
, and a case c = ¸f, A) ∈ CB. A function scale :
T CB → T /is called scale function of c respecting f

d
, if the following conditions hold:
(i) scale(f

d
, c) = c

= ¸f

, A

) with f

d
⊆ f

, and
(ii) sim(c

, q) > sim(c, q)
c is called scalable with respect to f
d
, c

is called scaling of c.
Remarks. In other words, with respect to a part of the desired function, f

d
⊆ f
d
, there is a case
c = ¸f, A) in the case base whose hydraulic axis A can be modified—say: scaled—towards A

in such a way that A

provides f

d
and c

is more similar to q than is c. Obviously does each
scaling establish an adaptation.
Example. Consider the design of a lifting hoist where
Figure 6: Scaling a cylinder re-
specting a desired force.
c = ¸f, A), the most similar case found respecting the query
q = ¸f
d
, ), does not fulfill the maximum force constraint
(F
cyl
, x
d
) ∈ f
d
. Given this situation, c can be scaled up to
fulfill f
d
if the force difference between the existing and the
desired systemis of the same order of magnitude (see Figure
6).
In this simple example the scaling of the force is possible
since the responsible underlying physical connections, the
balance of forces, can be quantified. A reasonable scale
function could utilize this law as follows. It adapts the force
value x of c according to the demanded value x
d
by scaling
the piston area, A
cyl
, to a new value with respect to the maximum pressure allowed, p
max
.
2
The condition is equivalent to the following: σ(f

, f
d
) > σ(f, f
d
)
Formally, the scale function takes two arguments (recall Definition 3.3); the first of which de-
fines the subset of f
d
to be achieved by scaling, the second is the case to be modified:
scale(¦(F
cyl
, x
d
)¦, c) = c

= ¸f

, A

) ∈ T /, where
f

= f
d
¸ ¦(F
cyl
, x)¦ ∪ ¦(F
cyl
, x
d
)¦,
A

= A¸ ¦(A
cyl
, y)¦ ∪ ¦(A
cyl
, y

)¦, with y

=
x
d
pmax
.
Note that condition (ii) of Definition 3.3 is fulfilled: The similarity between the scaled case c

and the query q is strictly larger than the similarity between the original case c and q.
3.4 Coupling Fluidic Axes
This subsection outlines how several hydraulic axes are combined towards a system S. Recall
that the starting point of a design problem is a demand set, D, which implies a set of hydraulic
subfunctions, F = ¦f
1
, . . . , f
n
¦. A retrieve step yields a hydraulic axis A
f
for each function
f ∈ F.
Axes can be connected by means of a paral-
A
1
A
2
V
C
S
A
1
, A
2
: Axes
C: Coupling
V: Control
S: Supply
V
A
1
A
2
C
S
Figure 7: Circuit diagram and related build-
ing block representation.
lel coupling, a series coupling, or a sequential
coupling. The result of such a coupling can
be considered as a new hydraulic axes which in
turn can be connected to other axes. This way,
coupling hierarchies can be defined in recursive
manner. To automate the generation of a con-
necting network between several axes, we intro-
duce four generic building blocks: (i) an axis
building block with a single input and a single
output, (ii) a control building block with two in-
puts and two outputs, (iii) a coupling building
block with two inputs and two outputs, and (iv) a
service building block with a single input and a single output.
Figure 7 shows a hydraulic system and its appropriate building block representation; Figure 8
shows the three coupling types.
A
1
, A
2
, A
3
: Axes building blocks
V, V
1
, V
2
: Control building blocks
C: Coupling building block
A
3
V
A
1
A
2
Series coupling
A
2
A
1
C
V
A
3
Sequential coupling
A
3
A
1
A
2
V
1
Parallel coupling
V
2
Figure 8: The three coupling types in their building block representation.
4 REALIZATION
The concepts described in the previous section have been embedded within a design assistant
3
and linked to FluidSIM, our drawing and simulation environment for fluidic systems (Stein
1995, Stein et al. 1998). The design assistant enables a user to formulate his design ideas by
specifying both a set of functions F and a coupling hierarchy between the elements in F. For
each f ∈ F a sequence of phases can be defined, where for each phase a set of characteristic
parameters, such as duration, precision, or maximum values can be stated. Figure 9 shows the
interface part of the design assistant that realizes the specification of F; this front end is used
for the acquisition of new cases as well as for the formulation of queries.
Having started the retrieval mechanism
Figure 9: Interface for design queries.
of the design assistant, the case base is
searched for the hydraulic axes fitting best
the specified function. In a next step these
building blocks are automatically scaled
and composed towards a new system. Fi-
nally, a drawing for the circuit is gener-
ated, which directly can be simulated and
evaluated respecting the desired demands
using FluidSIM. Figure 10 shows a query
(left window), the functional description
of the generated design (middle window), and the hydraulic drawing of the generated design.
Figure 10: A design query, the functional description of a solution, and the related drawing.
4.1 Evaluation
Clearly, a direct evaluation of generated design solutions must be limited within several respects
since
1. an absolute measure that captures the quality of a design does not exist, and
2. the number of properties that characterizes a design is large and their quantification often
3
The design assistant has been realized and evaluated as a part of the doctoral thesis of Hoffmann (1999).
Axes number Retrieve Reuse sim ≥ 0, 8 sim ≥ 0, 9 Simulation O.K. Expert modification
1 << 1s 0.10s 17 13 10 10x(+), 6x(o), 1x(–)
2 << 1s 0.63s 16 11 9 8x(+), 7x(o), 1x(–)
3 << 1s 0.91s 17 10 7 7x(+), 8x(o), 2x(–)
4 << 1s 1.43s 15 8 5 3x(+), 10x(o), 2x(–)
5 << 1s 2.00s 18 6 1 1x(+), 15x(o), 2x(–)
Table 3: Runtime results and modification effort for automatically generated designs.
requires a high effort.
4
Anyway, the quality of a generated design can also be rated indirectly, by quantifying its “dis-
tance” to a design solution created by a human expert. In this connection, the term “distance”
stands for the real modification effort that is necessary to transform the machine solution into
the human solution. The experimental results presented in the following table describe such a
competition. The underlying experiments have been performed by Hoffmann (1999); a more
detailed discussion of evaluation concepts as well as related problems can be found at the same
place.
Description of the table columns:
• Axes number. Describes the number of axes of each test set; a test set contains 20 queries.
• Retrieve. Average time of a retrieve step in seconds.
• Reuse. Average time of a reuse step in seconds.
• sim ≥ 0.8. Number of generated designs with a similarity ≥ 0.8.
• sim ≥ 0.9. Number of generated designs with a similarity ≥ 0.9.
• Simulation O.K. Number of generated designs whose simulation results fulfill the de-
mands of the query.
• Expert modification. Evaluation of a human expert. In this connection a (+), a (o), and a
(–) designate a small, an acceptable, and a large modification effort necessary to transform
the machine solution into a solution accepted by the human expert.
Test environment was a Pentium II system at 450 MHz with 128 MB main memory; the oper-
ating system was Microsoft Windows NT 4.0.
5 SUMMARY
This paper deals with the automation of fluidic circuit design. Underlying working hypothesis
is the principle of functional composition, which claims that a fluidic design process can be
emulated by two transformation steps. The first step realizes the mapping from the demands
on the hydraulic functions, D −→ F; the second step realizes the mapping from the hydraulic
functions onto the hydraulic system, F −→ S.
4
Characterizing properties include: number of components, reliability, cost, effort for setting into operation,
effort for maintenance, degree of standardization, fault-proneness.
Main contribution of the paper is the presentation of concepts that operationalize the step F −→
S by means of case-based reasoning methods. These methods have been operationalized within
a design assistant and compared to design solutions from a human expert, where they showed
fairly good success.
Clearly, the principle of functional composition is a simplified view to the fluidic design process
since it neglects the holistic view of the human designer. As a consequence, an automatically
generated design solution will often be suboptimum respecting the desired demands D. Any-
way, following aspects should be considered:
1. The principle of functional composition makes an automation of the design process pos-
sible.
2. An automatically generated design can be used as a starting point for the human designer.
3. The presented case-based design approach is adaptive. The case base can be enlarged, it
may accommodate more sophisticated solutions, and, as a consequence, the case-based
design algorithm will improve in its behavior.
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which then is adapted to the new situation. the starting position of a design problem should be created with CBR methods. design. An exception is the S CHEMEBUILDER system. The main difference to the approach presented here is that only predefined circuit topologies are treated. Reuse. synthesis—these terms stand for problem classes where the AI paradigm “generate and test” has been applied rather successfully (Brown and Chandrasekaran 1989. S. S is a solution of the design problem D. if the behavior of the system S complies with D.1 Design Problem Solving and CBR Configuration. Following this idea. Having performed more or less adaptations. The commonly accepted CBR cycle shown in Figure 1 goes back to Aamodt and Plaza (1994) and is comprised of four steps: 1. D. which can be understood as a collection of objects or as some kind of construction plan. 1989. CBR. consisting of the problem along with a solution. Section 4 presents a prototypic design assistant that operationalizes the outlined ideas. Marcus and McDermott 1989). 1 se u Re v . is stored. A previously solved design problem that contributes a good deal to the desired solution may bound difficult synthesis and adaptation tasks to a tractable rest problem. additional repair adaptations may be applied. e. while for the heuristic and search-intensive adaptation tasks other AI paradigms come into play. 2 CASE-BASED REASONING Problem Let a case combine a description of a problem along with a solution. 2. Section 3 develops the main contribution of this paper. Retain. 2. 4. The next section gives an introduction to case-based reasoning. Fluidon GmbH 1992). da Silva and Dawson 1997).• A composition scheme that hierarchically couples several axes respecting F . however. such as (Piechnick and Feuser 1994.. Revise. A case relevant for the problem is retrieved. the system is not able to verify its design proposal by a simulation. As mentioned at the outset. There exist other approaches to hydraulic circuit design. I. The new case. a case-based design approach for fluidic systems. 3. however. follows the paradigm “retrieve and adapt” (Leake 1995). 1994. a design problem is stated by a set of user demands. This paper outlines the design approach. a solution to a design problem is a system. the retrieved case may be reused. which allows for the construction of simple parallel topologies (Oh et al. Re n tai Case base Re eve tri Problem Solution Revised case Similar cases Adapted case is e Re Figure 1: The classical CBR cycle. Basic idea of case-based reasoning (CBR) is to exploit previously solved cases when solving a new problem. a collection of cases is browsed for the most similar case.1 it is organized as follows. Cunis et al. Having evaluated the adapted case. Retrieve. Both concepts can work fine together to solve design problems.

F = {f1 . There exist two concepts of how a problem’s solution can be defined: One of them codes the problem solving process. can be decomposed into a set of functions. directly onto a system S ∈ CB. D ∈ D. · to a case base CB. c2 ) = sim(c2 . but they could be reformulated to the process-centered view as well.1 (Case. S ∈ S. Weß (1995) mentions three approaches to define similarity: Similarity based on predicates. let c1 = D1 . each function f ∈ F can be mapped one to one onto a hydraulic axis that realizes f . D2 ). Similarity Measure). and the most generic concept. 3..2 (Case Similarity. the reflexivity property defines the self-similarity of a case. similarity based on a measure. This approach is absolutely futile here since a case base CB that provides adequate solutions for the entire variety of fluidic demand sets can neither be set up nor maintained. sequential. namely that of derivational analogy (belonging to the former) and that of transformational analogy (belonging to the latter) (Carbonell 1986. Let D be a set of demand sets. 2.) can be derived from D. (i) Retrieval of a similar case c. Given is a symmetric function σ : D × D → [0. parallel. From this distinction result two analogy concepts in CBR.Remarks. . etc. (i) The semantics of σ shall be as follows. Definition 2. c2 ) = σ(D1 . fn }. A case of the form q = D. a case-based reasoning approach to a design problem is realized in a monolithic manner—by mapping a complex set of demands. the larger shall be their value σ(D1 . Moreover. When given a query q = D. (ii) The symmetry property guarantees that sim(c1 . Then the case similarity sim : CB ×CB → [0. for example in the form of a system description S. Definition 2. D2 ). 1] is defined by means of σ in the following way: sim(c1 . and let S be a set of systems. The more similar two demand sets D1 and D2 are. 3 CASE-BASED DESIGN OF FLUIDIC SYSTEMS Typically. c1 ). point 2 and point 3 imply that no subfunc- . . only the last is powerful enough. where S constitutes a solution for D. σ(D1 . S2 . While the first point goes in accordance with reality. σ is called a similarity measure. two jobs must be done to obtain a solution to q. Case base. D. the coupling type between the hydraulic axes (series. i. In connection with design problem solving. Query). S . Remarks. each set of demands. which additionally has the reflexivity property. A set CB consisting of cases is called a case base. 1]. and (ii) adaptation of c such that D is fulfilled. and the following definition will formalize a similarity measure for design case bases. Goel and Chandrasekaran 1989. In contrast to such a monolithic view. D2 ) = 1 ⇔ D1 = D2 . be two cases. A case C is a tuple C = D. · is called query or problem definition to a case base. the other codes the result of a problem solving process. e. the presented approach is grounded on the principle of “functional composition” (Stein 1996). . similarity based on a preference relation. D. c2 ∈ CB. at the system description view. Hinrichs and Kolodner 1991). For reasons of clearness. The principle says that 1. . S1 and c2 = D2 . the considerations of this paper are oriented at the latter. c1 .

which have to perform a combined manipulation and pressing task. 3. and the component layer. boundary values. Figure 2 depicts this view. the velocities. The layer of demands contains the entire specification for a fluidic system. . Figure 3 shows cylinder profiles for a hydraulic system that operates in the low pressure range and that contains two working elements. w1 . Central elements of D. (1997) discuss possible demands in detail. Am} Hydraulic axes S Figure 2: Automating fluidic circuit design by functional composition. i... . . w2 . e. the step F −→ {A1 . such as tolerance constraints. fn} Hydraulic subfunctions {A1. Implicitly. The last subsection describes the step {A1 . which defines the desired set of demands D. operating restrictions. F . . . etc. Under this working hypothesis a demand set D can be transformed towards a fluidic system S within two steps: by designing a fluidic axis A for each f implied by D. these profiles characterize particular phases of the working process. The next but one subsection develops a similarity measure for functions f ∈ F . or a press phase.. D. . From the standpoint of a design process the following layers are important: the demand layer. are the cylinder profiles. This measure is vital to realize the retrieve step in the CBR approach: For a given f it identifies the most similar fluidic axis A from a case base of axes. such as a speed phase. . .1 Abstraction Levels of Fluidic Design Problems A fluidic design problem can be described at different levels (layers) of abstraction.. Am } can be realized by CBR methods—provided that the following can be developed: a similarity measure for hydraulic functions and an adaptation concept for hydraulic axes.. it is shown how the retrieved and adapted axes are connected to a system.tion f is realized by either a combination of several axes or by constructional side effects. Demand Layer. or the pressure. The subsection thereafter is devoted to the revise step: It is shown in which way a misfitting axis can be adapted. s w1 s w2 Pressure hold at 35 Bar 1 2 3 4 t 1 2 3 4 t Figure 3: Desired cylinder profiles for a hydraulic system. and S. Am } −→ S. Case-based design Composition of axes D F = {f1. Taking this simplifying view of the design process. Vier et al. however.. which defines the implied function F . and by coupling these axes in a qualified way. We start by illustrating the three before-mentioned abstraction levels of fluidic design problems. a slowing down phase. D. . . which prescribe the courses of the forces. The following subsections introduce the case-based design approach in greater detail. which defines the system S. the functional layer.. .

2 Phase Type Constant drive: 0.2 2.2 P2. say. S . A . globally arranged. Figure 5: Circuit that realizes the functional description of above. along with the component parameters.1 P1. f1 and f2 . . and combined within two functions. σ. A functional view can be derived from D by identifying the working phases within the cylinder profiles. each function f ∈ F is realized by a fluidic (here: hydraulic) axis. D. Figure 5 shows a component layer that corresponds to the functional layer of Figure 4. and by combining them within functions f . . four phases have been identified (see Table 1). Then a mapping. fd .5 m/s Constant drive: −0. Typically. .2 1. They form. F .1 P 2. These axes are coupled according to the coupling hierarchy.1 1 Coupling hierarchy sequential P 2. · .5 m/s Pressure hold: 35 Bar Driving in Table 1: Phases identified in the cylinder profiles. the solution of the design problem. f2 . for which a suited hydraulic axis shall be retrieved from CB. Supposed there is a case base.2 A Similarity Measure for Hydraulic Functions The desired demands. . . Component Layer. P P P P 1. the order restrictions of the phases. with cases of the form f. For each of the functions. CB. by globally arranging these phases. at a hydraulic system imply a set of hydraulic subfunctions.1 P directly 1. The functional layer specifies these axes as well as their couplings according to the global phase interplay.2 f 2 P 2. Here. {f1 .1 P2.1 1. and a query. Figure 4 shows the functional layer that corresponds to the demand layer of Figure 3. f1 . a hydraulic axis (A1 and A2 ) is given.2 0 2 t f 1 f 2 Figure 4: Corresponding functional description for the above cylinder profiles. A1 A2 3.1 2. For each function of the functional layer there is a hardware counterpart in the form of a fluidic axis. The respective hydraulic axes must be coupled sequentially to realize D—a fact which is reflected by the coupling hierarchy. fn }.2 P 1.1 4 5 P 2. each of which to be realized with a particular hydraulic axis A. The component layer defines the structure and all components of the fluidic system.Functional Layer. with the following properties is required.2 after Global phase interplay P f P 1. Phase order restrictions Working element w1 w1 w2 w2 Phase P1.

that . The last property. σpt . and each of which can be quantified by a special phase similarity measure.P OS P RESS FAST H OLD . . A fact. p1n ) ∈ F . where F is a set that comprises the possible hydraulic functions f . however. It maps from the Cartesian product of the hydraulic functions domain onto the interval [0. σ is defined on the domain F × F .7 0 C ONSTANT 0.P RESS 0 0 0 0.0 H OLD . the k most similar cases can be retrieved from a case base of hydraulic axes given a query fd . Definition 3.3 0.5 0 1 0 0. or precision. . Remarks. m ∈ N. “σ(fd . 3. duration.7 0. fr ) = max{σ(fd . force. σ is a similarity measure as defined on page 3.n} σpt (p1i . p2m ) ∈ F for some n.8 0. 1] is defined as follows: 1 σ(f1 .6 P RESS 0. 2. p2i ) i=1 Remarks. Note that in the case n = m not all phases will match and hence not all phases are considered in the computation of σ. σ : F × F → [0.7 0.0 0. . m} min{m. The elementary characteristic of a hydraulic function f is defined by both the sequence and the type of its phases.3 1 0 0 0. which does reflect our comprehension of similarity in most cases—it does not if.2 0. the phases in turn are characterized by their type.7 0.0 0.5 0 0. f2 ) = max{n. 1. The similarity measure σ estimates two hydraulic functions respecting their similarity. . .4 0 H OLD . postulates that σ should become maximum only for those cases in CB that realize the demanded function fd best. Obviously does σ fulfill the conditions of a similarity measure. 1].3 0.3 0. Table 2 gives a sample quantification for σpt . However. .6 0. . . Note. distance.P RESS P OSITION 1 0. and let the hydraulic function f2 designate the phase sequence (p21 .P OS 0 0 0 1 0.0 1 Table 2: The similarity between two phase types.4 0.3 Adapting Fluidic Axes By means of the above similarity measure for hydraulic functions. f ) | f. which is the most important phase characteristic and which is used in the following definition.8 FAST 0. This and other shortcomings have been addressed in the work of Hoffmann (1999): He proposed and realized an algorithm that enables a smart matching between phase sequences varying in length.3 1 0. 3.7 0 ACCELERATE 0. Let the hydraulic function f1 designate the phase sequence (p11 .1 (Similarity Measure for Hydraulic Functions Based on Phase Types).2 0. the similarity of two phases’ types.0 0.0 1 0. · . for instance.7 0.3 0. f1 and f2 are described at different levels of detail. Valuating two hydraulic functions respecting their similarity thus means to compare their phases. A ∈ CB}” ⇔ “ fr . Ar ∈ CB is the best case in CB to realize fd ”. 3.Phase type P OSITION C ONSTANT ACCELERATE H OLD . σ. A phase type based similarity measure for hydraulic functions.

c) = f ′ . Consider the design of a lifting hoist where c = f. A function scale : ′ F × CB → F × A is called scale function of c respecting fd . Given this situation. pmax .2 (Modification. Scaling). ′ Remarks. · . A reasonable scale Figure 6: Scaling a cylinder refunction could utilize this law as follows. xd ) ∈ fd . Definition 3. A popular approach is the formulation of adaptation knowledge in the form of (heuristic) modification rules (Stein and Vier 1998. q) > sim( f. Example. · . the most similar case found respecting the query q = fd . Definition 3. A . a particular type of modification rules. and a case c = f. A ∈ CB be a case. · be a query. there is a case c = f. The following definition specifies the terms “modification” and “adaptation”.3 (Scale Function. usually. 2 The condition is equivalent to the following: σ(f ′ . and let q = fd . A in the case base whose hydraulic axis A can be modified—say: scaled—towards A′ ′ in such a way that A′ provides fd and c′ is more similar to q than is c. fd ⊆ fd . A ∈ CB. fd ) > σ(f.these cases merely form solution candidates. can be employed to encode modification knowledge. Let c = f. q) c is called scalable with respect to fd . Scalable. does not fulfill the maximum force constraint (Fcyl . Adaptation). It adapts the force specting a desired force. called “scaling” rules here. c can be scaled up to fulfill fd if the force difference between the existing and the desired system is of the same order of magnitude (see Figure 6). A . Obviously does each scaling establish an adaptation. with respect to a part of the desired function. a retrieved case must be adapted to fulfill the demanded hydraulic function fd . In technical domains where the behavior of the system to be adapted is well understood. if the modified object of the case—in our setting a modified hydraulic axis A′ —does fulfill the demanded function fd to a higher degree than the unmodified axis A of the original case. While each adaptation represents a modification. In other words. In this simple example the scaling of the force is possible since the responsible underlying physical connections. a subset of ′ the demanded hydraulic function fd ⊆ fd . Barletta and Hennessy 1989. A modification of c respecting q is a function µ : F × CB → F × A. the inverse argumentation does not hold: A modification of some case does establish an adaptation only. c) = c′ = f ′ . c′ is called scaling of c. Case adaptation plays a key role in case-based design (Kolodner 1993) and is performed within the reuse step (bring to mind Figure 1 again). Hennessy and Hinkle 1991). A′ . if the following conditions hold: ′ ′ (i) scale(fd . Acyl . q) > sim(c. q) Case adaptation can be realized in different ways. with µ(fd . A′ . fd ) . value x of c according to the demanded value xd by scaling the piston area. can be quantified. to a new value with respect to the maximum pressure allowed. A modification of c is called an adaptation of c if the following condition holds:2 sim( f ′ . Given is a query q = fd . the balance of forces. and (ii) sim(c′ . A′ with fd ⊆ f ′ .

. (iii) a coupling building ing block representation. A3: Axes building blocks V. A2. and (iv) a service building block with a single input and a single output. with y ′ = xd . A retrieve step yields a hydraulic axis Af for each function f ∈ F. y)} ∪ {(Acyl . Parallel coupling A1 A2 A3 V1 V2 V Series coupling A1 A2 A3 Sequential coupling A1 C V A1.4 Coupling Fluidic Axes This subsection outlines how several hydraulic axes are combined towards a system S. Recall that the starting point of a design problem is a demand set. block with two inputs and two outputs. . V1. 3. pmax Note that condition (ii) of Definition 3. where f ′ = fd \ {(Fcyl . . V2: Control building blocks C: Coupling building block A2 A3 Figure 8: The three coupling types in their building block representation. a series coupling. xd )}. Figure 8 shows the three coupling types. which implies a set of hydraulic subfunctions. D. The result of such a coupling can C be considered as a new hydraulic axes which in turn can be connected to other axes.3). the second is the case to be modified: scale({(Fcyl .Formally. y ′)}.V A1. Axes can be connected by means of a paralA2 A1 A2 A1 lel coupling. c) = c′ = f ′ .Figure 7: Circuit diagram and related buildputs and two outputs. we introS V: Control duce four generic building blocks: (i) an axis S S: Supply building block with a single input and a single output. x)} ∪ {(Fcyl . . . the scale function takes two arguments (recall Definition 3. F = {f1 . Figure 7 shows a hydraulic system and its appropriate building block representation. A′ ∈ F × A. coupling hierarchies can be defined in recursive C V manner. A′ = A \ {(Acyl . the first of which defines the subset of fd to be achieved by scaling. To automate the generation of a con. fn }. or a sequential coupling. xd )}.3 is fulfilled: The similarity between the scaled case c′ and the query q is strictly larger than the similarity between the original case c and q. A2: Axes C: Coupling necting network between several axes. This way. (ii) a control building block with two in.

The design assistant enables a user to formulate his design ideas by specifying both a set of functions F and a coupling hierarchy between the elements in F . this front end is used for the acquisition of new cases as well as for the formulation of queries. an absolute measure that captures the quality of a design does not exist. or maximum values can be stated.4 REALIZATION The concepts described in the previous section have been embedded within a design assistant3 and linked to FluidSIM. 4. Finally. the functional description of a solution. and 2. For each f ∈ F a sequence of phases can be defined. the number of properties that characterizes a design is large and their quantification often 3 The design assistant has been realized and evaluated as a part of the doctoral thesis of Hoffmann (1999). the case base is searched for the hydraulic axes fitting best the specified function. and the hydraulic drawing of the generated design. a direct evaluation of generated design solutions must be limited within several respects since 1.1 Evaluation Clearly. Figure 9 shows the interface part of the design assistant that realizes the specification of F . In a next step these building blocks are automatically scaled and composed towards a new system. . our drawing and simulation environment for fluidic systems (Stein 1995. such as duration. Stein et al. Figure 10 shows a query Figure 9: Interface for design queries. Having started the retrieval mechanism of the design assistant. Figure 10: A design query. which directly can be simulated and evaluated respecting the desired demands using FluidSIM. (left window). 1998). a drawing for the circuit is generated. and the related drawing. the functional description of the generated design (middle window). where for each phase a set of characteristic parameters. precision.

fault-proneness. 9 13 11 10 8 6 Simulation O. • Expert modification. Number of generated designs with a similarity ≥ 0. Test environment was a Pentium II system at 450 MHz with 128 MB main memory. requires a high effort.0.Axes number 1 2 3 4 5 Retrieve << 1s << 1s << 1s << 1s << 1s Reuse 0. Evaluation of a human expert. Number of generated designs whose simulation results fulfill the demands of the query. 8 17 16 17 15 18 sim ≥ 0. • sim ≥ 0. and a large modification effort necessary to transform the machine solution into a solution accepted by the human expert.00s sim ≥ 0. a (o).9. the second step realizes the mapping from the hydraulic functions onto the hydraulic system. reliability. Characterizing properties include: number of components. 6x(o).9. the term “distance” stands for the real modification effort that is necessary to transform the machine solution into the human solution. the operating system was Microsoft Windows NT 4. In this connection. The experimental results presented in the following table describe such a competition. • Simulation O.8. 7x(o). F −→ S.63s 0. 4 . 2x(–) Table 3: Runtime results and modification effort for automatically generated designs.K. In this connection a (+). Describes the number of axes of each test set. which claims that a fluidic design process can be emulated by two transformation steps. D −→ F . 8x(o). Average time of a reuse step in seconds.43s 2. 2x(–) 3x(+). a test set contains 20 queries. • Reuse.10s 0. Underlying working hypothesis is the principle of functional composition.K. a more detailed discussion of evaluation concepts as well as related problems can be found at the same place. 5 SUMMARY This paper deals with the automation of fluidic circuit design. degree of standardization. 10x(o). the quality of a generated design can also be rated indirectly.91s 1. cost. • sim ≥ 0. Description of the table columns: • Axes number. 15x(o). Number of generated designs with a similarity ≥ 0. effort for setting into operation. 1x(–) 8x(+). by quantifying its “distance” to a design solution created by a human expert. effort for maintenance. The first step realizes the mapping from the demands on the hydraulic functions. The underlying experiments have been performed by Hoffmann (1999).4 Anyway. an acceptable. 2x(–) 1x(+). 1x(–) 7x(+). • Retrieve. 10 9 7 5 1 Expert modification 10x(+). and a (–) designate a small.8. Average time of a retrieve step in seconds.

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