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A major issue that affects every industry in which products are developed is the retention and
reuse of knowledge. While every organization produces data and information about its
products, transforming this data into an accessible knowledge base is difficult. The tools used
throughout the product development process typically do not help retain the knowledge of how
and why decisions are made, nor do they provide convenient access to this knowledge.
Knowledge is the embodiment of experience and data in a directly useable form. How you get
home from your office is knowledge. A map showing the way is data that has to be interpreted.
Through experience, you know to use different routes shown on the map depending on various
conditions such as the weather or the time of day. You have used the map and other
information to create knowledge. Likewise, in product development, understanding how a
product is intended to function and how to apply that understanding to create an appropriate
product is knowledge. The models and drawings of the product are part of the data that defines
the product, but they don’t convey how or why someone created the product in a specific way.
It is difficult to embed knowledge in a design. It takes extra effort to write out or codify the
decision process so that it can be passed as knowledge from one person to another.
The tools that are most often used in product development also need to be capable of capturing
knowledge, and they must allow product developers to apply that knowledge to their product
CATIA Version 5, in addition to embodying a significant new architecture that has been
evolving over a number of years, also provides some very interesting capabilities that allow
designers to drive their design processes from associative specifications and to integrate