A design system that reduces the need for specialist programmers to set-up computer-controlled machine tools improves shopfloor productivity and flexibility
FIRES has prototyped a new generation of computer-aided engineering (CAE) tool which supports an integrated approach to the rapid modelling, analysis and manufacture of complex mechanical components. The integration of these three separate disciplines allows engineers to optimise designs and keep manufacturing costs to a minimum.
The product is aimed at any engineering company designing and producing parts to be manufactured by computer-numerically controlled (CNC) milling and/or drilling, but has been tested in the specific area of mould tool manufacture. The benefits to the user are:
The FIRES prototype enables the user to do the following:
The three main models: the Feature-based Modeller, the Process Planner and the Analysis Interface, are developments of existing software packages. The innovation is in the integration of these components via neural data structures that use information models based on STEP Resource Models and Application Protocols.
The prototype was tested in the area of mould tool design, and commercialisation of the project will also concentrate on this area initially. A mould tool consists of a series of plates containing many holes, some of which must be manufactured to high quality (for slide fitting and sealing of plastic materials under pressure) and others to lower quality (for water cooling). There are often also arbitrarily-shaped pockets (which match with other sliding "side core" plates to cope with undercuts etc.) The FIRES prototype is able to analyse and manufacture a component, completely with CNC, which is comprised of this combination of 3-axis milling and drilling (with multiple setups).
tel +44-121-766-5544 -- fax +44-121-766-5511
Research Area Integration in Manufacturing
Keywords CAD; robotics;STEP technology;
|Cetim-Etablissement De Senlis FR|
|Delcam International PLC UK|
|Mares SA ES|
|Technische Hochschule Darmstadt DE|
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