In the product realization process, it is not currently possible to go from business case models to the final production system in the virtual design space. Virtual engineering aims to address this problem. Virtual engineering techniques will allow users to track the production of a product or system from birth to death, from the complete business case model to the customer’s feedback on the first production run. To implement a framework that will handle the broad range of information that is necessary to track a product through its complete life cycle, an object-centered approach involving virtual objects is required. These virtual objects will represent the physical objects as they exist in the “real world.” To enable these objects to have extensible qualities similar to objectoriented principles, similar techniques to those used by object-oriented design will be employed. Some of these techniques include multi-representational models, hierarchy, inheritance, and dynamic access. One important justification for an object-centered approach is that it gives stakeholders and engineers a mechanism for discourse regarding the product or system under design. Giving the engineer and other collaborators a comfortable and familiar mechanism by which to share and discuss ideas is crucial in allowing users to gain understanding about a product’s key issues. These ideas and processes are embodied in virtual engineering and the method behind it, which is referred to as objectcentered engineering. These ideas and the object-centered method will be discussed in this paper.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/doug_mccorkle/1/