Recent research at the University of Leeds has concentrated on the role of product models in a design and manufacturing environment. This paper describes initial progress in a project developing a data model that can support applications requiring assembly information throughout a product’s life-cycle. Research by other groups worldwide have used sets of mating conditions to describe the physical connectivity between components in an assembly. However these mating conditions are usually application specific. Experiments have been conducted at Leeds to determine whether these previously reported approaches can form the basis for a set of mating conditions which can be represented in a Product Model from which many applications can draw. The experiments were performed by modelling the relationships between components of a shaft mounted speed reducer by 1) using a set of mating conditions and 2) describing the constraints on the degrees of freedom between pairs of components. The perceived shortcomings of these approaches are discussed.

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