Author Identifier

Uday Hameed Farhan

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Engineering

First Supervisor

Dr Majid Rad

Second Supervisor

Associate Professor Adam Osseiran


This thesis introduces the development of an integrated system for the design of layouts for special purpose machines (SPMs). SPMs are capable of performing several machining operations (such as drilling, milling, and tapping) at the same time. They consist of elements that can be arranged in different layouts. Whilst this is a unique feature that makes SPMs modular, a high level of knowledge and experience is required to rearrange the SPM elements in different configurations, and also to select appropriate SPM elements when product demand changes and new layouts are required. In this research, an integrated system for SPM layout design was developed by considering the following components: an expert system tool, an assembly modelling approach for SPM layouts, an artificial intelligence tool, and a CAD design environment. SolidWorks was used as the 3D CAD environment. VisiRule was used as the expert system tool to make decisions about the selection of SPM elements. An assembly modelling approach was developed with an SPM database using a linked list structure and assembly relationships graph. A case-based reasoning (CBR) approach was developed and applied to automate the selection of SPM layouts. These components were integrated using application programing interface (API) features and Visual Basic programming language. The outcome of the application of the novel approach that was developed in this thesis is reducing the steps for the assembly process of the SPM elements and reducing the time for designing SPM layouts. As a result, only one step is required to assemble any two SPM elements and the time for the selection process of SPM layouts is reduced by approximately 75% compared to the traditional processes. The integrated system developed in this thesis will help engineers in design and manufacturing fields to design SPM layouts in a more time-effective manner.

Included in

Engineering Commons