Engineering changes are inevitable in a product development life cycle. The requests for engineering changes can be due to new customer requirements, emergence of new technology, market feedback, or variations of components and raw materials. Each change generates a level of impact on costs, time to market, tasks and schedules of related processes, and product components. Change management tools available today focus on the management of document and process changes. Assessments of change impact are typically based on the “rule of thumb”. Our research has developed a methodology and related techniques to quantify and analyze the impact of engineering changes to enable faster and more accurate decision-making in engineering change management. Reported in this paper are investigations of industrial requirements and fundamental issues of change impact analysis as well as related research and techniques. A framework for a knowledge-supported change impact analysis system is proposed. Three critical issues of system implementation, namely integrated design information model, change plan generator and impact estimation algorithms, are addressed. Finally the benefits and future work are discussed.

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