The use of non-intrusive user logging to capture engineering rationale, knowledge and intent during the product life cycle

James M. Ritchie, Raymond C.W. Sung, Heather Rea, Theodore Lim, Jonathan R. Corney, Iris Howley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Within the context of Life Cycle Engineering it is important that structured engineering information and knowledge are captured at all phases of the product life cycle for future reference. This is especially the case for long life cycle projects which see a large number of engineering decisions made at the early to mid-stages of a product's life cycle that are needed to inform engineering decisions later on in the process. A key aspect of technology management will be the capturing of knowledge through out the product life cycle. Numerous attempts have been made to apply knowledge capture techniques to formalise engineering decision rationale and processes; however, these tend to be associated with substantial overheads on the engineer and the company through cognitive process interruptions and additional costs/time. Indeed, when life cycle deadlines come closer these capturing techniques are abandoned due the need to produce a final solution. This paper describes work carried out for non-intrusively capturing and formalising product life cycle knowledge by demonstrating the automated capture of engineering processes/rationale using user logging via an immersive virtual reality system for cable harness design and assembly planning. Associated post-experimental analyses are described which demonstrate the formalisation of structured design processes and decision representations in the form of IDEF diagrams and structured engineering change information. Potential future research directions involving more thorough logging of users are also outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPortland International Conference on Management of Engineering & Technology, 2008. PICMET 2008.
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781890843175
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2008


  • product life cycle management
  • production engineering
  • computing
  • technology management
  • virtual reality
  • IDEF diagrams
  • assembly planning
  • cable harness design
  • engineering processes
  • engineering rationale
  • life cycle engineering
  • nonintrusive user logging
  • product life cycle


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