A survey of feature modeling methods: Historical evolution and new development

Lei Li, Y. Zheng, Maolin Yang, J. Leng, Zhengrong Cheng, Y. Xie, Pingyu Jiang, Yongsheng Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Initially developed for geometric representation, feature modeling has been applied in product design and manufacturing with great success. With the growth of computer-aided engineering (CAE), computer-aided process planning (CAPP), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and other applications for product engineering, the definitions of features have been mostly application-driven. This survey briefly reviews feature modeling historical evolution first. Subsequently, various approaches to resolving the interoperability issues during product lifecycle management are reviewed. In view of the recent progress of emerging technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), big data, social manufacturing, and additive manufacturing (AM), the focus of this survey is on the state of the art application of features in the emerging research fields. The interactions among these trending techniques constitute the socio-cyber-physical system (SCPS)-based manufacturing which demands for feature interoperability across heterogeneous domains. Future efforts required to extend feature capability in SCPS-based manufacturing system modeling are discussed at the end of this survey.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101851
JournalRobotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering informatics
  • Feature interoperability
  • Feature modeling
  • Feature ontology
  • Socio-cyber-physical system

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