With the introduction of virtual prototyping into the product development process, simultaneous product and process design is enabled. The research reported in this paper illustrates the generation and execution of virtual prototypes of products and their disassembly processes to support simultaneous design. In this context, a virtual prototype is an information model consisting of a product model and one or more process models. Virtual prototype generation in this work is a hybrid process consisting of both automated and interactive tasks. Simultaneous product/process design is accomplished by defining a design problem in terms of goals and constraints - Goal Directed Geometry (GDG) formulation - and coupling the virtual prototype with the multiobjective optimization code, DSIDES.
Application of the use of virtual prototypes is presented in the simultaneous product/process design of a center console from an automotive interior. Beginning with a preliminary design of the center console, a parametric design problem (i.e., GDG problem) is formulated to aid designers in assessing trade-offs between product and process design requirements. Virtual prototyping is used to generate disassembly processes for key components of the center console. The focus of this paper is the formulation of simultaneous product/process design problems, rather than their solution. Preliminary results indicate that virtual prototyping facilitates the development of disassembly simulations for use in evaluating the GDG problem.