Many designs fail because one or more checks are not done, or are done too late during the design process. A functional modelling system is presented, which provides systematic design checking at early design phases by means of constraint satisfaction. However, problems can occur if the design to be checked involves too many constraints.

This paper presents some extended research, which establishes a knowledge hierarchy for managing the mathematical constraints, so that the computer can process large designs. A case study of fastening joint design using this hierarchy is discussed.

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