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The role of the computer as an indispensable tool in Engineering Design and manufacturing cannot be over-emphasised. This subject tries to highlight the major areas in Engineering where the computer has successfully been applied. The topics to be addressed in this subject are related to Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacture (CAM) and include: Interactive computer graphics (ICG) and CAD Numerical control Computer process control Computer integrated production management Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS)

An ICG denotes a user-oriented system in which the computer is employed to create, transform and display data in form of pictures or symbols.



Computer-Aided Design is the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis and optimization of a design. The computer systems consist of the hardware and software to perform specialized design functions required by the user. A typical CAD hardware includes a computer, one or more graphics display terminals, keyboards and other peripheral equipment. The software consists of computer programmes to implement computer graphics on the screen plus application programmes to facilitate the Engineering functions of the user company. These application programmes include stress strain analysis of components, use of Finite Element Analysis, dynamic response of mechanisms, heat transfer calculations and Numerical Control (NC) Part Programming. CAM can be defined as the use of computer systems to plan, manage and control the operations of a manufacturing plant through either direct or indirect computer interface with
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the plants production resources.(application of computers in manufacturing) The applications of CAM thus fall into three categories:(i) Computer monitoring and control direct applications in which the computer is connected directly to the manufacturing process for the purpose of monitoring or controlling the process. (ii) Manufacturing support applications which are indirect applications in which the computer is used in support of the production operations in the plant, but with no direct interface between the computer and the manufacturing process.



data signal - Monitoring - Control -

CAM also involves indirect applications in which the computer is used offline to serve a support role by providing plans, schedules, forecasts, instructions and information in which the companys production resources can be managed effectively. Some of these support applications include: NC Part Programming - where control programmes are prepared for automated machine tools Computer Automated Process Planning - where a computer prepares a listing of the operation sequence required to process a particular product or component. Computer Integrated Work Standards - where the computer determines the time standards for a particular production operation Production Scheduling - in which the computer determines the appropriate schedule for meeting production requirements Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) where the computer is used to determine re-order points and Economic Order Quantities Shop Floor Control which implies collection of data from factory to determine the progress of various shop processes
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The product cycle begins with a concept an idea for a product. This concept is cultivated, refined, analysed, improved and translated into a plan for the product through the Engineering Design process. The plan is then documented by drafting a set of Engineering drawings showing how the product is made and providing a set of specifications indicating how the product should perform.

The next activities involve manufacture of the product. A process plan is formulated which specifies the sequence of production operations required to make the product. New equipment and tools must sometimes be acquired to produce the new product. Scheduling provides a plan that commits the company to the manufacture of certain quantities of the product by certain dates. Once all these plans are formulated, the product goes into production, followed by quality testing and delivery to the customer.

The impact of CAD/CAM is manifest in all of the different activities in the product cycle. CAD is utilised in the conceptualisation, design and documentation of the product. Computers are used in the production to monitor and control the manufacturing process, and in quality control to perform inspections and performance tests on the product and its components. CAD/CAM is therefore overlaid on virtually all of the activities and functions of the product cycle.



Automation is the technology concerned with the application of complex mechanical, electronic and Computer-based systems in the operations and control of production. The extent to which automation is applied in manufacturing depends on the type of production.

Category (i) Continuous Flow Process

Automation achievements - Flow Process from beginning to end - Fully Computer-automated Plants
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Mass production of discrete Products

- Automated transfer machines - Partially and fully automated - Industrial Robots for Spot welding, parts handling, machine loading, spraying etc - Computer production monitoring.


Batch production

- NC, DNC and CNC - Adaptive Control machining - Robots for arc welding, parts handling - CIM systems

(iv) Job shop production


In modern manufacturing, the only way to survive is to automate the system while maintaining flexibility. Automation provides good quality and low cost products, while flexibility allows you to respond to change in product and demand.



Most of the benefits of implementing CAD as part of an integrated CAD/CAM system are intangible, reflected in improved work quality, all of which are difficult to quantify. The potential benefits of CAD are listed here: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) (ix) (x) Improved Engineering productivity Shorter lead times Reduced Engineering personnel requirements Customer modifications are easier to make Faster response to requests for quotations Avoiding of sub-contracting to meet schedules Minimised transcription errors Improved design accuracy Easier recognition of component interactions in analysis Provides better functional analysis to reduce prototype testing (using the ICG with motion simulation and interference checking) (xi) Assistance in preparation of documentation
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(xii) (xiii) (xiv) (xv) (xvi)

Designs have more standardization Improved productivity in tool design Better knowledge of costs provided Reduced training time for routine drafting tasks and NC Part Programming. Helps ensure designs are appropriate for existing manufacturing techniques

(xvii) Saves materials and machining time by optimization algorithms (xviii) Provides operational results on status of work in progress (WIP) (xix) (xx) Assistance in inspection of complicated parts Better communication interface and greater understanding among all persons involved in the project The benefits of CAD carry over into manufacturing and the same CAD/CAM database1 is used for manufacturing planning and control. The manufacturing benefits are found in the following areas; (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) Tool and fixture design for manufacturing NC Part Programming Computer-Aided Process Planning and Scheduling Assembly lists (generated by CAD) for production Computer-Aided Inspection (CAI) Robotics planning Group technology Shorter manufacturing lead times through better scheduling

Including all data on product generated during design (geometry, bill of materials, parts lists, specifications) as well as data required for manufacturing. Page 5


The relationship between CAD and CAM CAD









Choice of CAD hardware components depends on the computational and graphics requirements of the user firm. These components are available in a variety of sizes, configuration and capabilities. A typical stand-alone CAD system utilizing ICG would include: one or more design workstations consisting of a graphics terminal and operator input devices one or more plotters central processing unit (CPU) secondary storage 2.1.2 COMPUTER GRAPHICS SOFTWARE AND DATABASE

The hardware explained above is supported with software and accompanying database for ICG and CAD. The graphics software is the collection of programmes written to make it convenient for a user to operate the computer graphics system. It includes programmes to generate images on the cathode ray tube (CRT) screen, to manipulate the images and to accomplish various types of interaction between the user and the system. In addition, there may be other programmes for implementing certain
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specialized functions related to CAD/CAM, e.g FEA, kinematic simulation for design analysis, automated process planning and NC Part Programming as manufacturing planning programmes. The CAD database contains the application models, designs, drawings, assemblies and alpha-numeric information such as bills of materials and text. It also includes much of the Interactive Graphics software (system commands, function menus and plotter output routines) and resides in the computer memory (primary storage) and secondary storage. 2.2 THE DESIGN WORKSTATION

This is essentially a system interface with the outside world. It must accomplish five functions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. interface with the CPU generate a steady graphic image for the user provide digital descriptions of the graphic image translate computer commands into operating functions facilitate communication between the user and the system

The use of ICG has proved to be the best approach to accomplish these functions. A typical ICG workstation would consist of a graphics terminal (a cathode ray tube (CRT) screen a.k.a monitor) and operator input devices (e.g alpha-numeric keyboard and electronic tablet and pen).



These are provided at the graphics workstation to facilitate convenient communication between the user and the system. Several types of input devices are available but can generally be divided into three categories, viz: 1. 2. 3. Cursor control devices Digitisers Alpha-numeric and other keyboard terminals
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Cursor control devices and digitisers are both used for graphical interaction with the system, while keyboard terminals are used to input commands and numerical data. There are two basic types of graphical interaction, i.e: creating and positioning new items on the CRT screen pointing at or otherwise identifying locations on screen (on existing images)

Workstations are normally equipped with different input devices in order to accomplish the two types of graphical interaction. Cursor control devices include: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) thumb wheels direction keys on a keyboard terminal joysticks light pen electronic tablet / pen (stylus)

A digitiser consists of a large smooth board and an electronic tracking device which can be moved over the surface to follow existing lines.



The types of output devices used in conjunction with a CAD system include: Pen plotters: - which can produce a hard copy plot of high quality compared with

the corresponding image on the CRT screen. Due to losses in the digital-to-analogue conversion that takes place through the display generators, and due to lack of resolution in the CRT screen, the picture quality is degraded, but a high precision pen plotter is capable of accuracy consistent with the digital definitions in the CAD database. The pen plotter uses mechanical ink pen (wet ink or ball point) to write on paper through relative movement of pen and paper. There are two types of pen plotters viz. drum plotters and flat bed plotters. Hard copy units: - are machines which can make copies from the same image data displayed on the same CRT screen. Most are dry silver copiers that use light sensitive paper exposed through a narrow CRT window inside the copier. They are however
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not used to produce final drawings due to poor output quality and due to the fact that the copies will darken with time when left expose to no normal light. Electrostatic plotters: - these have faster output but less accuracy and poorer

resolution than pen plotters. They offer a compromise between pen plotters and hard copy units. Computer output to microfilm (COM) units: - reproduce the drawings on microfilm

rather than as full size Engineering drawings, but the microfilm can be photographically enlarged to full size if required. Networks 2.5 THE CPU

The CPU operates as the brain of the CAD system and is typically a mini-computer. Its activities include: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) managing the workstation directing plotters in the generation of engineering drawings copying data from disc onto magnetic tape reading tape transmitting data to and from other computers

Presently, most CAD mini-computers use a 16-bit word although the trend is toward use of 32-bit CPUs for greater speed, accuracy, and memory. CAD systems would require more memory than is available as primary storage capacity in the mini-computers. The remedy to this is to use secondary storage units to reduce the cost of more expensive main memory. Secondary storage takes the form of magnetic disk and tape, and can be used for Engineering drawings files, CAD software which can be transferred to main memory as needed, and temporary files for CPU output which can be downloaded to individual graphics terminals, plotters or any other output devices. CAD systems may also have their CPUs connected to large mainframe computers (host computers) to gain access to greater computational and memory capacity. The host computer is called in to execute complex Engineering and numerical analysis functions which would otherwise overburden the CAD system CPU.
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The graphics software for a particular computer graphics system is a function of the type of hardware (CRT and input devices) used in the system. The ground rules that should be considered in designing graphics software are: Simplicity and user-friendliness Consistency (should be predictable) Completeness (no inconvenient omissions) Robustness (tolerant of minor instances of misuse by operator) Performance (efficient and fast speed) Economy (short enough, effective and cost-effective) One of such software widely used in the world is AutoCAD - a drafting technique developed by Autodesk. Other software (e.g DOGS and DUCT) have been developed and are also preferred in certain applications.



The model database can be organized in various ways depending on the type of model and preference of the CAD system designer. Some systems lean toward more complete descriptions of the model stored explicitly as data. This requires more storage space. Other systems are designed to store a minimum of data but with more complete procedures so that the model can be recomputed when needed. This saves on storage space but requires more computational time. One possible data structure involves storing the coordinates of the geometry together with their information which may be required to completely define the model or use certain application programmes.

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Numerical Control is a form of programmable automation in which the process is controlled by numbers, letters and symbols. The numbers form a programme of instructions designed for a particular job. NC technology has been applied to a wide variety of operations including drafting, assembly, inspection, spot welding, etc. However, NC finds its principal application in metal machining processes where a sequence of drilling, turning or milling operations may be required. Conventional NC was initially conceived by John T. Parsons and in 1953, demonstrated his first prototype NC milling machine at MIT under the US Airforce contract. The Airforce continued its encouragement of NC development by sponsoring additional research at MIT to design a part programming language that could be used for controlling NC machines. This resulted in the APT (Automatically Programmed Tools) language, which is still widely used in industry today and is a basis for most other programming languages. NC Part Programming is the procedure by which the sequence of processing steps to be performed on the NC machine is planned and documented. It involves the preparation of a punched tape (or other input medium) used to transmit the processing instructions to the machine tool. There are two methods of part programming manual and computerassisted. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) involves the replacement of the conventional NC controller unit by a small computer (mini/micro-computer) which is used to perform some or all of the basic NC functions by programmes stored in its memory. One computer is used to control one machine tool.

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Direct Numerical Control (DNC) involves the use of a large computer to control a number of separate machine tools through direct connection. NC is widely applied in most of the machining operations, e.g milling, drilling, boring, turning, grinding and sawing.



The basic components are: Programme of instructions Controller unit (machine control unit MCU) Machine tool or other controlled process The programme of instructions is coded in numerical or symbolic form on some type of input medium that can be interpreted by the MCU. Common input media include punched tape, punched card, magnetic tape and a 35 mm motion picture film. The controller consists of the electronics and hardware that read and interpret the programme of instructions and convert it into mechanical actions of the machine tool. Its components include tape reader, data buffer, signal output channels to machine tool, feedback channels from machine tool and sequence controls to coordinate the overall operation. Nearly all modern NC systems today are sold with a mini-computer as the controller unit (CNC). The machine tool is the component which performs useful work. For an NC system designed to perform machining operations, the machine tool consists of a worktable and spindle, as well as motors and controls, cutting tools, work fixtures and other auxiliary equipment.



To utilise NC in manufacturing, the following steps must be accomplished: 3.3.1 Process planning:

The Engineering drawings of the work part must be interpreted in terms of the manufacturing processes to be used. Process planning is concerned with preparation
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of the route sheet, which is a listing of the sequence of operations and the machine through which the part must be routed. 3.3.2 Part programming:

Manual Part Programming (MPP) these are machining instructions prepared on a form called a programme manuscript. This is used for simple jobs. Computer-Assisted Part Programming (CAPP) here, most of the tedious computational work required in programming is transferred to the computer. It is especially appropriate for complex workpiece geometries and jobs with many machining steps. a) Tape preparation: A punched tape is prepared from the part programmers NC process plan. In MPP, the punched tape is prepared directly from the part programme manuscript on a typewriter-like device equipped with tape punching capability. In CAPP, the computer interprets the list of part programming instructions, performs the necessary calculations to convert this into a list of machine tool motion commands, and then controls a tape punch device to prepare the tape for the specific NC machine. b) Tape verification: This is a method for checking the accuracy of the tape. A tape can be verified by running it through a computer programme that plots the various tool movements on paper. Another method is to try it out on the machine tool to produce the part, usually from inferior materials like plastic or foam. c) Production: This constitutes the final step in the NC procedure and involves ordering the raw workpiece materials, specification and preparation of the tooling and setup. The

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NC system machines the part according to the instructions on tape. The operators work is loading and unloading the workpiece.


NC MOTION CONTROL 3.4.1 Point-to-point (PTP) NC: This is sometimes called a Positioning System. The objective is to move the cutting tool to a predefined location. The path taken is not important as long as the tool reaches the desired location. PTP is the simplest machine tool control system, and the least expensive. NC drilling is one example of PTP NC control.


Straight-cut NC: Here, the cutting tool is moves parallel to one of the major axes at a controlled rate. The method is suitable for milling operations to fabricate workpieces of rectangular

configurations. An NC machine capable of straight-cut motion is also capable of PTP motion.

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Contouring (Continuous path) NC:

This is the most complex, the most flexible and the most expensive type of machine control, and is capable of performing both PTP and Straight-cut operations. It can simultaneously control more than one axis movement of the machine tool. Straight or plane surfaces at any orientation, circular paths, conical shapes or any other mathematically defined forms are possible under Continuous path NC.



Advantages: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Reduced non productive time Reduced fixturing Reduced manufacturing lead times Greater flexibility Improved quality Reduced floor space requirements

Disadvantages: (i) (ii) (iii) Higher investment costs Higher maintenance costs Finding and/or training NC staff


NC PART PROGRAMMING 3.6.1 Preparation and coding of the punched tape:

The punched tape is an input medium that converts part programmes into a sequence of machine tool actions. The programme is contained in the input medium and is interpreted by the controller unit which must be capable of reading the coded symbols used in the punched tape.
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The method used in the punched tape preparation depends on the type of part programming involved. In MPP, a type writer-like device is used in which the operator types directly from the part programmers hand written list of coded instructions to produce a typed copy of programme as well as the punched tape. In CAPP, the tape is prepared directly by the computer using a tape punch. After preparation, the punched tape is fed through the tape reader, one for each workpiece (conventional NC) and is advanced through the reader one instruction at a time. Tape coding uses the binary system and is provided by either presence or absence of a hole in various positions on the tape. The binary digit (bit) can have a value of 0 or 1, and out of a row of bits, a character (combination of bits) is made. Characters form words, and words are used to form part of an instruction. The words are grouped into a block which is a complete NC instruction. Typical NC words are x & y positions, cutting speed, feed rate, etc. 3.6.2 Part programming:

MPP is generally suited for point-to-point applications and can become quite time consuming for applications requiring continuous path tool control. Hence, contouring is much more appropriate for CAPP. The part programmers responsibility in CAPP is to define the work part geometry and to specify the operation sequence and tool path, while the computers job consists of the following:(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Input translation Arithmetic calculations Cutter offset computations Post processor a computer programme that uses the general purpose language instructions and makes them specific to a particular machine. 3.6.3 Part programming languages:

Some of the commonly used languages are:-

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APT this widely used, especially for positioning and contouring. There are also other languages which were derived from APT. These include: ADAPT ADaptation of APT, developed by IBM to utilise a small computer and used for continuous path and positioning tool control. EXAPT this is the EXtended subset of APT developed in Germany for positioning (EXAPT I), turning (EXAPT II) and limited contouring operations (EXAPT III).

(ii) (iii)

SPLIT this was essentially meant for Sundstrands machine tools. COMPACT II this is also widely used. The programmer uses a remote terminal to feed the programmes into one of the computers.


PROMPT this language was designed for use with a variety of machine tools.

(v) (v)

CINTURN a high level language developed by Cincinnati. EIA Standard RS-274-D a language developed by the Electronics Industries Association.

3.6.4 NC PART PROGRAMMING WITH INTERACTIVE GRAPHICS: The use of ICG in NC Part Programming is an excellent example of integration of CAD and CAM. The programming procedure is carried out on the graphics terminal of a CAD/CAM system. Using the same geometrical data which defined the part during the CAD process, the programmer constructs the tool path using high level commands to the system. In many cases, the tool path is automatically generated by the software of the CAD/CAM system. The ICG approach permits the programmer to generate the tool path in a step-by-step manner with visual verification on the graphics display. The procedure begins by defining the starting position for the cutter. The programmer would then command the tool to move along the defined geometric surfaces of the part, and the tool is being moved in the CRT screen, the corresponding motion commands are automatically prepared by the CAD/CAM system. The user can insert post-processer statements (e.g feed rates, speeds, coolant control) at appropriate points during programme creation.
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Another aspect of programming with ICG involves vocal communication of the machining procedures to a voice input NC tape preparation system. This is called Voice Programming and allows the programmer to avoid such steps as writing the programme by hand, key punching or typing and manual verification. The programmer speaks into a headband microphone designed to reduce background acoustic noise.


The hardware components of a CAD system are to be specified for the three cases below. Specify the types of input devices, number of terminals, types of output devices and also whether the CPU will be stand-alone or connected to a larger host computer. Justify why it is important to maintain a higher benefit / cost ratio in hardware selection.


An Engineering firm with seven mechanical engineers and 12 drafting technicians. The firm designs mechanical equipment for client companies that fabricate the equipment. Drawings must be clear and of high quality.


A manufacturing firm producing products in high volume for public consumption. Design staff include 10 mechanical and electrical engineers.


An Engineering consultancy firm which, once in a while, handles design work for its clients. One engineer and one draftsman are involved in the CAD work.

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Use of the digital computer has permitted improvements to be made in the controls for NC in Computer Numerical Control and Direct Numerical Control. The conventional NC has a number of problems such as: (i) Programming mistakes (syntax or numerical errors especially in manual part

programming) (ii) (iii) tear (iv) (v) (vi) 4.1.1 The tape reader is also very unreliable The controller is not flexible enough to incorporate alterations and improvements Management information flow on operation performance is not provided timely CNC: It is not possible to change speeds and feeds during cutting The punched tape can be unreliable due to its fragility and susceptibility to wear and

The external appearance of a CNC machine is similar to that of a conventional NC machine. Part programmes are initially entered in a similar manner. Punched tape readers are still the common device to input the programme into the system. However, with conventional NC, the punched tape is cycled through the reader for every workpiece in the batch, while with the CNC the programme is entered once and the stored in the computer memory. Thus the tape reader is only for the original loading of the programme and data. CNC offers additional flexibility and computational capacity, and new system options can be incorporated into CNC controller by reprogramming the unit. 4.1.2 DNC:

In this manufacturing system, a number of machines are controlled by a computer through direct connection. The tape reader is omitted and the programme is transmitted to the machine tool directly from the computer memory. The DNC system consists of four basic components: Central computer Bulk memory (stores the NC part programmes)
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Telecommunication lines Machine tools

DNC has the following advantages:(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) elimination of punched tapes and tape reader makes it more reliable it offers greater computational capability and flexibility convenient storage of NC part programmes in computer files performance data is readily available

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FMS involves the use of automated machinery and equipment which can be reprogrammed to perform a significant range of manufacturing tasks (nowadays this normally means that the machinery or equipment is computer controlled). This is the kind of manufacturing system required to replace or supplement fixed automation in mass production.

The Industrial Robot British Robot Association (BRA) definition of an industrial robot: An industrial robot is a reprogrammable device designed both to manipulate and transport parts, tools or specialized manufacturing implements through variable programmed motions for the performance of specific manufacturing tasks. Generally a robot is a mechanical arm. Programmable devices which fit the BRA definition but can only move to finite number of points are better termed manipulators or pick-and-place devices, but are also called non-servo robots. Manipulators are limited to simple handling tasks, but robots have the potential of performing many manual tasks in industry. The robot itself consists of four main components, viz: the jointed arm the end effector (which can be a gripper, manufacturing implement or machine tools) Applications: arc and spot welding assembly of parts spraying materials handling inspection drives, and controller

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Group Technology (GT) is a manufacturing philosophy in which similar parts are identified and grouped together to take advantage of their similarities in manufacturing and design. Similar parts are arranged into part families, and each family would possess similar design and manufacturing characteristics. High efficiencies are achieved due to reduced setup times, reduced WIP, better scheduling, improved tool control and use of standardized process plans. Where GT is implemented, the production equipment is arranged into machine groups (cells) in order to facilitate workflow and parts handling. 5.2.2 PART FAMILIES

A part family means a collection of parts with geometrical similarity and same processing steps in their manufacturing. The advantages realized in grouping parts into families are in design retrieval systems and in plant design by arranging the machines into cells, with each cell organized to specialize in manufacture of a particular part family. Hence there is reduced workpiece handling, lower setup times, less WIP, less flow space and shorter lead times.

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When changing over to GT, three methods can be used: (i) (ii) Visual inspection (grouping by looking at the physical setup) Production Flow Analysis (by analyzing the route sheets, parts with similar operation sequence and machine routings are grouped together) (iii) Parts Classification and Coding System (by examination of the individual design and/or manufacturing attributes of each part by means of a code number)



Process Planning is the function within a manufacturing facility that establishes which processes and parameters are to be used (as well as those machines capable of performing these processes) to convert a piece part from its initial form to a final form predetermined (usually by a design Engineer) in an Engineering drawing. Alternatively, Process Planning could be defined as the act preparing detailed work instructions to produce (machine or assemble) a part. This topic includes manufacturing planning, material processing, process Engineering and machine routing. The process plan is sometimes called an operation sheet, route sheet or operation planning summary. A detailed design usually contains the route, processes, process parameters, machine and tool selections. In industry, most process plans are still prepared manually. The process lanner has to have the following knowledge: ability to interpret an Engineering drawing familiarity with manufacturing processes and practice familiarity with loading and fixtures knowledge of what resources are available in the shop knowledge of how to use reference books, such as machinability data handbook ability to do computations on machining time and cost familiarity with raw materials knowledge of the relative costs of processes, toolings and raw materials

and the steps to be followed in the preparation of the process plan are:
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study the overall shape of the part in order to classify the part and determine the type of work station to be used

thoroughly study the drawings and identify all the manufacturing features determine the best raw material shape to use if raw stock is not given identify datum surfaces and determine setups select machines for each setup determine rough sequence of operations necessary to create all the features for each setup

sequence the operations determined in then previous step select tools for each operation keeping in mind the trade-off on tool change time and estimated machining time

select / design fixtures for each setup select cutting parameters for each operation prepare the final process plan document

In CPP, developments have focused on eliminating the process planer from the entire planning function. CPP can reduce some of the decision-making required during process planning. Previously prepared process plans are stored in a database. When a new component is planned, a process plan for a similar component is retrieved and subsequently modified to satisfy special requirements using the technique of GT.

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Two approaches for CPP are currently being used:


Variant Process Planning:

This uses the library retrieval procedures to find standard plans for similar components. A standard plan is stored permanently in the database with a family number as its key.


Generative Process Planning:

Here, process plans are generated automatically for new components without referring to the existing plans. Process plans are created from information available in a manufacturing database without human intervention. Upon receiving the design model, the system can generate the required operations and operations sequence for the component. Knowledge of manufacturing must be captured and encoded into efficient software. By applying decision logic, a process planners decision-making process can be initiated.



Problems with traditional production planning and control: (i) Plant capacity problems (production falls behind schedule due to lack of efficient labour and/or equipment. As a result, there is excessive overtime, delays in meeting the schedules, customer complaints, etc) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Long lead times Problems with non-optimal scheduling Inventory control problems Low capacity utilization (due to poor scheduling, equipment breakdowns, reduced product demand, etc) (vi) (vii) Errors in Engineering and manufacturing records Quality problems

Computer Integrated Production Management Systems (CIPMS) refers to computerised information systems to integrate the various functions of production planning and control to reduce the above problems. Some of the recently developed functions in a CIPMS include: (i) Engineering and Manufacturing database:
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This comprises all the information needed to fabricate the components and assemble the products, and includes bills of material, part design data, process route sheets, etc. (ii) Materials Requirement Planning (MRP): MRP involves determining when to order raw materials and components for assembled products, and can be used to reschedule orders in response to changing production priorities and demand conditions. (iii) Capacity Planning: This is concerned with determining the labour and equipment resources needed to meet the production schedule. Plant capacity describes the maximum rate of output that the plant can produce under a given set of assumed operating conditions. (iv) Inventory Management: The objectives of inventory management are to keep inventory as low as possible while at the same time, maintaining good customer service by avoiding stock-outs. (v) Shop Floor Control: This refers to a system for monitoring the status of the production activity in the plant and reporting this to management so that effective control can be exercised. (vi) Cost Planning and Control: Cost Planning and Control consists of database to determine the expected costs to manufacture each product. It also consists of the cost collection and analysis software to determine what the actual costs of manufacturing are, and how they compare with the expected costs.



5.5.1 Process Data:

For the computer to be useful in controlling the manufacturing processes, it must be capable of communicating with its environment. In data processing systems, this communication is accomplished by the various input / output devices, e.g. card readers, printers and CRT consoles. In CAM, the environment of the computer includes, in addition to these devices, one
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or more manufacturing processes and the computer must be capable of sensing the important process variables from the operation and providing the necessary response to maintain effective control over the processes. The data that must be communicated between the manufacturing process and the computer can be classified into three categories, namely: (i) Continuous Analog Signals: - which represent a variable that assumes a continuum of values over time, and remains uninterrupted during the manufacturing process. Examples are: pressure, liquid flow rate and velocity. (ii) Discrete Binary Data: - which can take on either of the two values, e.g. ON or OFF, OPEN or CLOSED, like in case of lights, switches, valves and motors. Binary-valued process variables can represent many situations, e.g. state of machine tool and sensing switches. (iii) Pulse Data: - consists of train of pulsed electrical signals from devices called pulse generators. The pulse train can be used to drive devices like the stepping motors. The number of pulses can be represented as digital data.

Interface Hardware Devices: The computer must use the input data to generate output data and convert it into signals understandable by the manufacturing process. There are six categories of computer process interface representing the inputs and outputs for the three categories of process data above: 1. Analog to Digital Interfacing: This involves transforming real-valued signals into digital representations of their magnitude. The steps to be accomplished include the following hardware: a) Transducers: - convert a measurable process characteristic, e.g. flow rate, temperature, into electrical voltage levels corresponding in magnitude to the state of the characteristic of the process measured. An example is a thermocouple. b) Signal Conditioners:

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- filter random electrical noise and smooth the analog signal emanating from transducing devices. c) Multiplexers: - connect several process monitoring devices to the analog-to-digital converter (ADC). d) Amplifiers: - scale incoming signal up or down to the range of ADC being used. e) The ADC: - transforms the incoming real-valued process signals into their digital equivalents. f) The Digital Computers I/O Section: - accepts the digital signals from the ADC. A limit comparator is often connected between the I/O sections and the ADC to prevent out-of-limit signals from distracting the CPU.

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2. Contact Input Interface: This is a set of simple contacts that can be opened and closed to indicate the status of limit switches, button positions and other binary type data. It serves as the intermediary between discrete process data and the computer, which periodically scans the signal status and compares it with the pre-programmed values.

3. Pulse Counter: The Pulse Counter is used to convert the pulse trains into a digital representation which is then applied to the computers input channel.

4. Digital to Analog Converter: This takes digital data generated by the computer to transform it into a pseudoanalog signal. (The signal is considered pseudoanalog because the computer is only capable of a limited precision word, so that an infinite number of analog signal levels cannot be generated).

5. Contact Output Interface: These are sets of contacts that can open or close. The output from the computer is used to turn on indicator lights, alarms and equipment functions such as cutting oil pumps.

6. Pulse Generator: The pulse generator converts digital words from the computer into pulse trains that are used to drive some devices.



There are two types of computer process control systems, namely: 1. Direct Digital Control This involves the replacement of the conventional analog control devices with the digital computer. The computer calculates the desired values of input variables and these values are applied directly to the process.
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Supervisory Computer Control which denotes a computer process control application in which the computer determines the appropriate set point values for each control loop in order to optimize some performance objective (e.g. maximum production rate, minimum cost per unit product, yield, etc.) of the entire process.



CAQC, sometimes called Computer-Aided Inspection (CAI) and Computer-Aided Testing (CAT) aims at achieving the following objectives: improvement of product quality increasing productivity in the inspection process increasing overall productivity and reducing lead times CAI and CAT are performed automatically using the latest computer and sensor technology. The following effects are likely to result from the CAQC system: (i) Inspection and testing will typically be accomplished on a 100% basis rather than by sampling as used in the traditional QC. (ii) Inspection during production will be integrated into the manufacturing process and on-line inspection can be incorporated saving on time spent on traditional inspection techniques. (iii) (iv) Use of non-contact sensors speeds up the process of inspection. The on-line non-contact sensors that are utilized as measuring component of the computerized feedback control are capable of making adjustments to the process variables based on analysis of data collected. (v) With 100% inspection and on-line QC systems, Statistical QC is challenged and it may no longer be necessary to settle for less than perfection. (vi) As well as sensor technology, robots will be used increasingly in future inspection applications. (vii) In addition to CAI and CAT, the computer will also be used in other areas of QC, such as quality Assurance (QA).
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The personnel implications in QAQC will mean that manual inspection activity will be reduced (less human labour), QC personnel will have to be more computer-literate (training) and technologically sophisticated to operate the more complex inspection and testing equipment, and to manage the information resulting from these more automated methods.

The non-contact inspection schemes are of two types, namely optical (utilizing machine vision, scanning laser beam devices and photogrammetry) and non-optical (using electrical field and radiation techniques and ultrasonics).



CIMS refers to a production system which consists of a group of NC machines connected together by an automated materials handling system and operating under computer control. CIMS incorporates many of the CAD/CAM technologies and concepts so far discussed. These include CNC, DNC, Computer process control, CIPMS, automated inspection methods (QAQC) and industrial robots. A CIMS system consists of the following basic components: Machine tools and related equipment Materials handling system Computer system Human labour to operate the CIMS FMS plays a central role in the study of CIMS and is sometimes used to mean CIMS.

Functions of a Computer in CIMS: 1. Machine tool control accomplished by CNC, which can be conveniently interfaced with other elements of the computer control system. 2. DNC most CIMS operate under DNC, taking advantage of the usual DNC functions, e.g. NC part programme storage, distribution of programmes to the individual machines in the system and postprocessing.

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3. Production control includes decision on part mix and rate of input of various parts onto the system. The computer performs its production control function by routing a pallet to the load / unload area and providing instructions to the operator to load the desired raw part. 4. Traffic control refers to the regulation of the primary workpiece transport system, which moves parts between workstations. 5. Shuttle control concerned with the regulation of the secondary part handling system at each machine tool. Each shuttle system must be coordinated with the primary handling system, and be synchronized with the operations of the machine tool it serves. 6. Work handling system monitoring the computer must monitor and type of each work part in the primary and secondary handling systems. 7. Tool control monitoring and controlling of the cutting tools as regards the tool movements (location) and life. 8. System performance monitoring and reporting monitors the performance of the system and reports to management for action.

CIMS Data Files and System Reports: The computer relies on data contained in files listed here in order to control the operation of the CIMS. 1. Part programme file (for each work part processed on the system) 2. Routing file (listing of workstations involved) 3. Part production file (for production parameters) 4. Pallet reference file (used to maintain a record of parts that each pallet can accept). 5. Station tool file (used for tool control purposes) 6. Tool life file (keeps tool life value for each tool in the system) The data collected can be summarized for preparation of performance reports of the following categories: Utilization reports (workstation and system utilization) Production reports (daily / weekly quantities of parts produced from CIMS) Status reports (current status of the system at any time)
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Tool reports (missing tools, life, etc at each workstation)

Benefits of CIMS: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Increased machine utilization Reduced direct and indirect labour Reduced manufacturing lead times Lower WIP Scheduling flexibility



AI is a part of the computer science concerned with designing intelligent computer systems, i.e. systems that exhibit the characteristics normally associated with intelligence in human behavior. AI is a growing interdisciplinary interest of great importance. Its applications include problem solving, natural language processing, expert systems, robotics, CPP and computer vision. An expert system can be defined as an intelligent computer program that uses knowledge and inference procedures to solve problems that are difficult enough to require significant human expertise for their solution. Computer vision has become an indispensable part of an intelligent robotic system. Computer vision endows the robot with a sophisticated sensing mechanism that allows the machine to respond to its environment in an intelligent and flexible manner.

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