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Integrated Automated Process Planning System


The KS system is an integrated part of our KAPES (Knowledge Aided Process Planning and Estimating System). It will enable the non-engineer to produce process plans and time - / cost estimates for the manufacturing of parts, sub-assemblies and assemblies in a sheet metal, machining and plastics environment. KS is driven by feature information that can be taken from a CAD system. As a result of the AIT project we developed the prototype for this new module. Process planning has been identified by the AIT Pilot Phase to be a complex, important domain of the manufacturing engineering business process. Hence the application of up-to-date computer support has the potential to provide substantial improvement, resulting in process plans of better quality, created with less effort of resources and in a shorter time. The development and validation of Automated Process Planning will be the key to tap this source of rationalisation. Important elements to be covered by these activities are: -The full integration with adjacent systems like Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP). -The capability to learn by applying achieved results to similar new tasks. -And the extensive utilisation of the services of the AIT Information Technology Reference Model (ITRM). Particularly the complementing AIT-activities towards feature-based product modelling (with the product definition accessible in STEP format) can be fully exploited here. This could be achieved with equivalent procedures for transforming the product data into the manufacturing model. The work done has been quite successful and has shown the ability of KAPES to read an ASCII file generated by another application (Visual Basic but could have been a CAD application) and from this generate a Process Plan. The tou