Proceedings of Industrial Engineering Research Conference, Reno, NV, May 2011

Ontology-Based Knowledge Representation for Product Life-Cycle Concepts and Obsolescence Forecasting

Liyu Zheng, Virginia Tech
Raymond Nelson, III, University of Maryland
Janis Terpenny, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Peter Sandborn, University of Maryland


The impact and pervasiveness of product obsolescence is spreading due to rapidly advancing technologies which shorten the lives of high-technology components. For long field life systems, this has led to an increasing disparity in the life cycle between components and the overall system. As expected, the obsolescence dates of system components are important inputs during product life cycle planning. While proposed obsolescence forecasting methods have demonstrated some effectiveness, clear, complete, and consistent information representation is lacking. Current methods are very difficult to integrate with other tools, making obsolescence management a continuing challenge. This paper presents a framework to support the needs of knowledge representation for obsolescence forecasting. Product life cycle models are represented using the logic of ontological constructs. The forecasted life cycle curve and zone of obsolescence are obtained by fitting sales data. The knowledge representation for obsolescence forecasting is realized using OWL and SWRL in the ontology editor Protégé. A flash memory example is included to demonstrate the obsolescence forecasting procedure. Discussion of future work is included to extend the ontology beyond the initial representation for obsolescence forecasting, to a more comprehensive knowledge representation scheme and management system that can facilitate information sharing and collaboration for obsolescence management.

Complete article is available from publisher.


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