Internet-Based Integration

Internet-Based Integration

Xun Xu (University of Auckland, NZ)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-714-0.ch015
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Abstract

Today, companies often have operations distributed around the world, and production facilities and designers are often in different locations. Increased use of outsourcing and geographically dispersed supply chains further complicates the manufacturing world. The globalization of manufacturing business means that companies should be able to design, build, and maintain, anywhere at any time. Manufacturing engineers are seeking effective tools during planning to help improve production processes, plant designs, and tooling, and to allow earlier impact on product designs. Collaboration may exist in a number of activities such as (a) reviewing designs with the design team; (b) interfacing with tooling designers; (c) verifying tooling assembly and operation; (d) reviewing manufacturing process plans and factory layouts; and (e) discussing manufacturing problems with suppliers. In larger companies, collaboration is becoming increasingly important in design and manufacturing. Everyone knows something, but no one knows everything. There is an evolution from individuals working independently to functioning in workgroups, as well as enterprise collaboration and collaboration throughout a supply chain. Within a supply chain, sharing knowledge has become paramount. This chapter describes the methods of developing an Internet-enabled, integrated CAD, CAPP, CAM, and CNC system to support collaborative product development. The main goal is to provide a team environment enabling a group of designers and engineers to collaboratively develop a product in real time. STEP can be used to represent product data for heterogeneous application systems and data formats, and the Web-based Product Structure Manager developed can be an effective function module to co-ordinate collaborative activities.
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A Collaborative Framework

The aim is to achieve a STEP-compliant system for collaborative manufacturing (Xu & Mao, 2004). Figure 1 shows the basic system architecture (Xu, 2006). The system used STEP (ISO 10303-21, 1994, ISO/TS 10303-28, 2003) and STEP-NC (ISO 10303-238, 2007) standards to construct a universal data model.

Figure 1.

STEP-compliant collaborative manufacturing model

In the design phase, STEP (ISO 10303-203, 1994, or ISO 10303-214, 1994) is used as the neutral data format to exchange design data between different CAD systems or between CAD and CAPP systems. Two different manufacturing information databases (generic and native) are needed to support data exchange for collaborative manufacturing. The generic manufacturing databases are abstract information about machine tools and cutting tools of any kind to be used during manufacturing activities. Hence, process plans generated using generic manufacturing resources cannot be executed directly at the shop-floor. This is because a STEP-NC based process plan at this stage has only information about “what-to-do”, i.e. the tasks. Examples of what-to-do information include machining features and the description of requirements of machine tool(s) and cutting tool(s). At this stage, no information about selection and determination of specific machine tool(s) and cutting tool(s) is present in the program. The native manufacturing databases reflect the actual conditions of a shop-floor including existing machine tools and cutting tools that can be used for populating and optimizing a generic process plan or generating native process plans for final execution. To this end, a native manufacturing database can be considered as a “DNA” bank for all the available manufacturing facilities.

As aforementioned, the basic element of a STEP-NC file is Workingstep instead of cutter locations. Workingsteps are built based on machining features. The system can use inputs from CAD systems, feature recognizer, CAPP algorithms and manufacturing resources to generate a STEP-NC file. As the CAPP system is designed based on a three-tiered architecture, it has the ability to switch between different manufacturing databases to generate generic or native STEP-NC files to provide a maximal flexibility to support collaborative manufacturing. As shown in dashed lines in Figure 1, when the CAPP system is connected to a generic database, the output STEP-NC files will be universal and machine tool independent. Under this condition, the CAM system can later populate and optimize a generic STEP-NC file according to the native manufacturing database on the shop-floor to obtain a suitable STEP-NC file for a specific CNC machine. When the CAPP system is directly connected to a native manufacturing database, it will be able to optimize the machining sequence, select machine tools and cutting tools at the process planning stage and generate a STEP-NC file which can be directly used by a targeted CNC machine. Figure 2 shows the detailed information flow in the proposed system (Mao, 2003).

Figure 2.

IDEF0 diagram of the STEP-compliant collaborative manufacturing model

In this scenario, CAM systems are more likely to be integrated with STEP-NC enabled CNC machines or rather their controllers. The main functions of a CAM system are therefore to optimize the generic STEP-NC information and offer data connections to a CAPP system instead of calculating tool trajectories and generating CNC programs, which will be handled by the built-in functions of the STEP-NC controller.

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System Model

The abstract model of the proposed system is illustrated in Figure 3 (Xu, 2006). As can be seen, the system is of a three-tiered network hierarchy. This helps to set up an integrated collaborative manufacturing environment.

Figure 3.

Abstract system model of the STEP compliant CAPP system

Complete Chapter List

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Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
A.Y.C. Nee
Acknowledgment
Xun Xu
Chapter 1
Xun Xu
One of the key activities in any product design process is to develop a geometric model of the product from the conceptual ideas, which can then be... Sample PDF
Geometric Modelling and Computer-Aided Design
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Chapter 2
Xun Xu
Today, more companies than ever before are involved in manufacturing various parts of their end products using different subcontractors, many of... Sample PDF
CAD Data Exhange and CAD Standards
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Chapter 3
Xun Xu
Products and their components are designed to perform certain functions. Design specifi- cations ensure the functionality aspects. The task in... Sample PDF
Computer-Aided Process Planning and Manufacturing
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Chapter 4
Feature Technology  (pages 75-89)
Xun Xu
Throughout the course of the development of CAD, CAPP, and CAM systems, unambiguous representation of a design’s geometry and topology remain an... Sample PDF
Feature Technology
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Chapter 5
Feature Recognition  (pages 90-108)
Xun Xu
Conventional CAD models only provide pure geometry and topology for mechanical designs such as vertices, edges, faces, simple primitives, and the... Sample PDF
Feature Recognition
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Chapter 6
Feature Interactions  (pages 109-125)
Xun Xu
Feature interaction tends to have a wide range of consequences and effects on a feature model and its applications. While these may often be... Sample PDF
Feature Interactions
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Chapter 7
Xun Xu
Integrated feature technology promotes a closer connection between design and manufacturing through features. When machining features are... Sample PDF
Integrated Feature Technolog
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Chapter 8
CNC Machine Tools  (pages 165-187)
Xun Xu
The introduction of CNC machines has radically changed the manufacturing industry. Curves are as easy to cut as straight lines, complex 3-D... Sample PDF
CNC Machine Tools
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Chapter 9
Program CNCs  (pages 188-229)
Xun Xu
A CNC machine can be programmed in different ways to machine a workpiece. In addition to creating the cutting program, many other factors also need... Sample PDF
Program CNCs
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Chapter 10
Xun Xu
Technologies concerning computer-aided design, process planning, manufacturing and numerical control, have matured to a point that commercialized... Sample PDF
Integration of CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC
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Chapter 11
Xun Xu
The integration model (Model B) as discussed in the previous chapter makes use of exchangeable neutral data formats such as IGES (1980). Neutral... Sample PDF
Integration Based on STEP Standards
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Chapter 12
Xun Xu
Function blocks are an IEC (International Electro-technical Commission) standard for distributed industrial processes and control systems (IEC... Sample PDF
Function Block-Enabled Integration
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Chapter 13
Xun Xu
In order to prepare manufacturing companies to face increasingly frequent and unpredictable market changes with confidence, there is a recognized... Sample PDF
Development of an Integrated, Adaptable CNC System
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Chapter 14
Xun Xu
A logical step after CNC machining is inspection. With inspections, Closed-Loop Machining (CLM) can be realized to maximize the efficiency of a... Sample PDF
Integrating CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC with Inspections
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Chapter 15
Xun Xu
Today, companies often have operations distributed around the world, and production facilities and designers are often in different locations.... Sample PDF
Internet-Based Integration
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Chapter 16
Xun Xu
Companies that have been practicing CAD, CAPP, CAM, and CNC integration have now realized that there is a need to operate in a much broader scope... Sample PDF
From CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC to PDM, PLM and Beyond
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Chapter 17
Key Enabling Technologies  (pages 354-393)
Xun Xu
While computers have proven to be instrumental in the advancement of product design and manufacturing processes, the role that various technologies... Sample PDF
Key Enabling Technologies
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About the Author