It is the objective of the proposed research to enhance productivity in tool and die shops and similar production environments where modern CNC controlled machine tools are used in one-of-a-kind production of complex components. Productivity in such shops is often hampered by too long machine tool setting times and a rather chaotic planning situation, due to the nature of the production. At the same time the proposed project addresses the product design process. By developing and implementing application software programmes as an addition to the existing production system comprising CAD/CAM, production control packages and CNC machines - it is the intention to create an environment for a cost/effective integrated design/manufacture of tool parts. The target of the cooperative project. forseen in the exploratory award application, is a dramatic reduction of lead times in the entire process of design, work preparation and manufacture. Software packages to be developed comprize: I) a classification system to classify individual parts of a mould or die according to its production-related features, 2) a production planning and scheduling system for tool makers, based upon a classification of the components in a mould, 3) an integration of the above svstem in the t,vphical IT-environment of a tool shop and 4) a technological planning and information system that will provide optimum inforrnation and service to the machine tool operator. The project is proposed by 6 SMEs, all tool makers, rrom DK, DE, BE, Fl, ES and Slovenia.