Complexity in modern product design is manifest through large numbers of diverse parts, functions, and design disciplines that require an intricate web of synergistic relationships to link them together. It is extremely difficult for designers to assimilate or represent such complex designs in their totality.
In this research, we present a framework that utilizes the intricate relationships between design components to enhance the representational power of design models and to provide focal points for automating the management of design complexity. We introduce automated mechanisms, based on aggregation and interaction relationships between design components, that integrate model structure, a variety of conceptual and detailed design information, and product management controls into a single modeling framework. These mechanisms are easily incorporated into design models and they facilitate re-use and cooperative design by ensuring that related entities can be modified independently.