Development of a manufacturing feature-based design system
Hoque, A.S.M. Mojahidul (2010) Development of a manufacturing feature-based design system. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Traditional CAD systems are based on the serial approach of the product development cycle: the design process is not integrated with other activities and thus it can not provide information for subsequent phases of product development. In order to eliminate this problem, many modern CAD systems allow the composition of designs from building blocks of higher level of abstraction called features. Although features used in current systems tend to be named after manufacturing processes, they do not, in reality, provide valuable manufacturing data. Apart from the obvious disadvantage that process engineers need to re-evaluate the design and capture the intent of the designer, this approach also prohibits early detection of possible manufacturing problems.
This research attempts to bring the design and manufacturing phases together by implementing manufacturing features. A design is composed entirely in a bottom-up manner using manufacturable entities in the same way as they would be produced during the manufacturing phase. Each feature consists of parameterised geometry, manufacturing information (including machine tool, cutting tools, cutting conditions, fixtures, and relative cost information), design limitations, functionality rules, and design-for-manufacture rules. The designer selects features from a hierarchical feature library. Upon insertion of a feature, the system ensures that no functionality or manufacturing rules are violated. If a feature is modified, the system validates the feature by making sure that it remains consistent with its original functionality and design-for-manufacture rules are re-applied. The system also allows analysis of designs, from a manufacturing point of view, that were not composed using features.
In order to reduce the complexity of the system, design functionality and design-for manufacture rules are organised into a hierarchical system and are pointed to the appropriate entries of the feature hierarchy.
The system makes it possible to avoid costly designs by eliminating possible manufacturing problems early in the product development cycle. It also makes computer-aided process planning feasible.
The system is developed as an extension of a commercially available CAD/CAM system (Pro/Engineer), and at its current stage only deals with machining features. However, using the same principles, it can be expanded to cover other kinds of manufacturing processes.
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