The objective of this project is to develop a computer automated group technology (CAGT) system to facilitate the use of group technology methods and tools in small and medium-sized factories by automating the methods and integrating the tools into CAD/CAM and CAPP systems.
The development in this project is the elaboration of computer automated group technology (CAGT) software. By automating the input from computer aided design (CAD), consisting of features and attributes, human interpretation of engineering drawings during the coding process is excluded. A performing retrieval tool will automate the retrieval of existing similar parts, drawings and manufacturing sequences based on the internal group technology (GT) representation or on a rough sketch on the CAD system. The internal representation stored in a relational database is a successful start to an engineering database with links to process planning, material requirements planning, manufacturing and purchasing.
The principal modules of the system will provide:
- automatic creation, during a design task on a CAD system, of computer-based internal representations of assemblies, subassemblies and parts, defining their geometrical, functional and production characteristics
- automatic retrieval, based on their functional or morphological characteristics, of existing similar designs of assemblies, subassemblies and parts, from a rough sketch on the CAD system, or a functional or production-oriented description of a new design
- automatic retrieval of appropriate operation sequences for manufacturing.
The automatic generation of internal representations will avoid the need for the time-consuming and inconsistent coding of parts normally experienced with group technology systems.
The CAGT system will be interfaced to a range of CAD systems.
The project's industrial partners will make direct use of the system by applying it to their own manufacturing operations. They expect to achieve more efficient design and process planning, improved usage of their manufacturing equipment through the standardising of processes, and a reduction in inventories.
The project results will be sold as a software product by Eigner & Partner. CAP Sesa Industrie will use the project results for specific industrial automation projects.