The general theme of the CE2009 Conference is the recognised requirement for advancements in Concurrent Engineering (CE) with a global perspective for competitive enterprise, economy and ecology. CE appeared in the '80s as the concept of parallel performing engineering design activities and the integration of all related processes. This concept is based on the general assumption that different components of the product life cycle should be considered together and relatively early. The main goal of CE is to make processes more efficient and more resistant to errors.
Since then the whole CE approach has evolved into different forms with different names and has become omnipresent. The industrial presence of CE differs from well established corporation implementations to SME applications. The last twenty years have brought many changes to the organization of product design and manufacturing: engineers have developed narrower specializations; engineers have developed a global presence; engineers work in firms which are final producers or suppliers; sometimes firms create alliances; engineers cooperate and collaborate; and they use different methods and tools to support their engineering activities. As a result the CE approach supports engineers in many ways.
The role of information systems in CE has always been treated as very important. First methodologies and tools were concentrated on offering the possibility to contact people and processes, to make the right information and knowledge available at the right time. The presence of computer tools in CE is treated as standard.
If one looks now at what is going on and at how many different issues are important in design, manufacturing, supply, distribution, etc., one will understand why the context of CE is so rich and so complicated, why there are so many CE specializations and why the main topic of the CE2009 Conference is of great relevance. The plurality of CE specializations mentioned above was reflected in the following CE2009 Conference tracks: Systems Engineering, PLM, Advanced Manufacture, Product Design, Mass Customization, Lean Thinking, Design for Sustainability, Customer Value, Environmental Impact, Knowledge Engineering, SCM, Concurrent System Architecturing, Collaborative Engineering, Web Technologies, Standards, Digital Manufacture, Service Solutions, Purchasing/Procurement, Emotion Engineering. Apart from the above tracks the conference also has seven special sessions in RFID, Collaborative Product Development, Multi-disciplinary Design and Optimization, Design Knowledge Utilization, Competitive Supply Chain Performance, Value Engineering, and Competitive Design.
The proceedings contain 94 papers, demonstrating the multitude of different perspectives contained in this volume. There are papers which are theoretic and conceptual, as well as papers which have very strong industrial roots. There are also very detailed, highly specialized paper, which are closely linked to specific industrial case studies. The reader will also find papers which are based on real processes, but which operate on abstract models and which offer a bridge between industrial reality and academic research.
CE does not develop equally in each area; the direction of development depends on many factors. The content of this volume reflects the variety of issues in today's CE methods and phenomena; consequently, readers will be able to build their own view of the present problems and methods involved in CE.