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Transfer of information between CAD models and downstream manufacturing process planning software typically involves non-productive human interaction. Knowledge acquisition and the reapplication of manufacturing knowledge is a key aspect of automating manufacturing process selection. Many tools are process-centric and unsuited for selection of a best process in the context of existing concurrent engineering design tools. The aim of this paper is to introduce an implementation of tools in the ICAD computer system, required to support automated manufacturing process planning; including feature recognition and manufacturing knowledge management. Recommendations include suitable feature recognition algorithms and manufacturing process capture specific to metallic components in the aerospace industry. The application will have the ability to offer advice on appropriate manufacturing options utilising functional and economic criteria of the design.

Presented By:
Timothy J. Jones*, C. Reidsema*and A. Smith**
*School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UNSW, Australia
**GKN Aerospace Engineering Services, Port Melbourne, Australia

1. INTRODUCTION There is extreme commercial pressure within the engineering industry to reduce non-recurring design costs for new products, while maintaining high quality standards. To be successful, an organisation must effectively integrate design and downstream activities like manufacturing process planning, analysis, assembly and inspection (Ozturk et al, 1999). Consequently, there is a need for engineering companies to develop knowledge-based engineering tools that automate these processes. Some tools exist for limited aspects of this goal, Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) being the foremost. To maximise to concept of concurrent engineering, one must go further than this highly specific manufacturing aid, and use the output of CAPP type tools on a conceptual design model to give the designer feedback on suitable manufacturing processes early in the design cycle. Feature recognition provides a useful starting point for fulfilling this task. Feature Recognition (FR) is a technique for identifying and extracting design features from a geometric Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. This feature information is comprised of geometry and design intent, in relation to functional requirements, and the manufacturing and assembly implications of that geometry. By automating the extraction of design features from a CAD model, FR can minimise or reduce the lead-time of downstream engineering processes. Rapid assembly of feature information invites the possibility of comprehensive analysis of many concepts, in the time traditionally allocated for a limited number. The role of FR in relation to downstream processes and the CAD model is depicted

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