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Supporting product life cycle

The problem of the Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) application is to integrate a network of interconnected supply chains, with multiple, large customers buying a wide range of products (shoes to aircraft) each dictating their own standards, and with every supplier being part of multiple supply chains. Each customer wants to maintain a common approach over all its supply chains. And each supplier wants to maintain the same system for each of the supply chains it works in.

The aim of this application is to propose a data exchange mechanism for managing the life support of complex products (, including configuration definition, maintenance definition, maintenance planning and scheduling, maintenance and usage recording (including configuration change).

For that, an upper ontology of several hundred items for description of product life cycle will be defined. There isno chance of the entire supply system (10,000's of businesses) developing a single detailed model. However, given the upper ontology, they will be free to specialize individual ontology terms (playing the role of place holders for local extension) to meet their precise needs. PLCS is conceptually a co-operatively developed web in XML, with the live version being a set of run time views assembled from files submitted by a dozen or so contributors. It may be useful, where ontologies diverge, to map terms between the diverging branches, either to indicate where terms can be harmonized to their equivalent, or to identify that there is no exact equivalence.

PLCS vocabulary addresses hundreds of separate functions, including classification of items, classification of information usages (e.g. types of part identifier), classification of entity roles (e.g. date as start date) or classification of relationships (e.g. supersedes). Typical examples of terms are:

An Identification_code is an identifier_type which is encoded according
to some convention. Typically but not necessarily concatenated from
parts each with a meaning. E.g. tag number, serial number, package
number and document number. 

A Part_indentfication_code is a Identification_code that identifies the
types of parts. For example, a part number.
CONSTRAINT: An Identification_assignment classified as a Part_identification_code can
only be assigned to Part Organization_name

An Owner_of is an Organization_or_person_in_organization_assignment that
is assigning a person or organization to something in the role of owner.
For example, the owner of the car.

The vocabulary has been encoded using OWL, and is managed via the Protege OWL editor.