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Reduction of Time-to-Market for Machine Tools with Computer Aided P rototyping through Solid Modeller


The MATCAP methodology and software tools will be directly applicable to all enterprises producing machine tools. From our point of view the ideas and corresponding tools can more generally be transferred to all enterprises, which manufacture products and require engineering on a frequent basis. An estimation of the impacts on the machine tool industry leads to the following improvements we expect due to MATCAP:
- Reduction of Time-To-Market caused by the Concurrent Engineering approach;
- Increase of the product design quality, efficiency and effectivity due to the possibility of predicting the product properties in a better way (with 3D-CAD supported by FE-analyses;
- Improvement of flexibility to client needs (e.g. through parametric modelling)
- Improvement of flexibility to market trends;
- Reduction of the prices for machine tools
- Increase of reliability;
- Reduction of design time.
These benefits will without any doubt significantly improve the competitive position of the European industry on the long term under the condition that all the results of MATCAP will be concentrated to a marketable software package.
A short time to market provides high competitive advantages to any builder of industrial goods. That is why time to-market can be called one of the key competition factors besides quality. Being the first one on the market as provider of a new product, it is possible to gain a cost advantage out of the advantage in time, because manufacturing costs of a new product decrease with an increasing output. This is of special importance for machine tool builders, as their products have a central role in the industrial production.
European machine tool builders are mainly companies of small or medium size with little capacity for research and development. Due to this structural problem it is hard for them to benefit from modern CAD tools enabling to perform optimisation cycles in the development phase of a new machine. This is one reason, why European machine tool builders have a comparatively high time to market. The evolution of the hardware and software systems put today at disposal powerful CAD systems based on solid modeler, that well answer to the needs above mentioned.
The use of these tools is been however up to now diffused mainly in the areas with products of big series (engines, electronic components, cars) or of high intrinsic value (aeronautical, nuclear). The diffusion is instead very scarce in the firms that produce machines tools because the design is characterised from the contemporary presence of:
high variation and specialisation of the products;
complexity due to the great number of parts that make up the product.

The main and central objective of the proposed project is the development of design methodology for 3D solid modelling in machine tool design, in order to allow a "user friendly" and efficient use of the 3D solid modeler in the design of complex and special machines with very high number of components. This allows:
Time To Market reduction;
Improvement of Concurrent Engineering approach
Improvement of characteristics estimation of the products (virtual prototyping);
Improvement of reliability and maintainability of the product. The 3D solid modeler will be the kernel of a integrated system that will allow to calculate or estimate important properties during the early phases of the design process of new machine tools.
The 3D solid modeler will be integrated with the following modules: FEM simulation (static, dynamic and thermal)
Cost estimation
Installation planning (electric, hydraulic and pneumatic)
The whole simulation environment (3 D solid modeler + simulation modules) will be also integrated in a common database that will be arranged on the basis of the Concurrent Engineering approach and the use of the 3D solid modeler. The MATCAP project will also answer to the CEDAM philosophy because during the design of a new machining system several module supplier companies would provide the relative numerical model for machine simulation using a unique product database and exchanging data in real time. In this way each company would maintain a unique numerical model that could be updated very easily. That would result in: getting product to market faster, reducing design/development costs, responding better to customer needs. The consortium comprises two machine tools builder, COMAU (IT) and GILDEMEISTER (DE), covering two of the most common manufacturing processes (milling and turning); the engineering company CE.S.I (IT) specialised in machine tools design and design methodologies development; the FRAMAG (AT) specialised in developing and production of composite material for machine tools frames and in vibration technology; two university institutes, IWB (DE) and IFT (AT), being responsible for theoretical work and for designing new software tools.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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Participants (5)

Centro di Studi Industriali SAS di Taddei Ing. Franco
Via Tintoretto
20093 Cologno Monzese
Frankenburger Maschinen und Apparatebau GmbH
9,Neukirchnerstraße 9
4873 Frankenburg
60,Gildemeisterstrasse 60
33689 Bielefeld
39,Karl-hammerschmidt Strasse 39
85609 Dornach
Technische Universität Graz
24/I,kopernikusgasse 24/I
8010 Graz