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Technology is a key resource of profound importance for corporate profitability and growth. It also has enormous significance for the well-being of national economies as well as international competitiveness. Effective management of technology links engineering, science, and management disciplines to address the issues involved in the planning, development, and implementation of technological capabilities to shape and accomplish the strategic and operational objectives of an organization.
The use of technology is an important factor in the process of a company's product development. Product development is the set of activities beginning with the perception of a market opportunity and ending in the production, sale and delivery of a product. It is often used in engineered, discrete, physical products such as television sets and automobiles. Product development is divided into four stages:
1. Initiation Stage
The goal of the initiation stage is to identify a new business opportunity. Projects go through two phases in this stage: knowledge prebuild, and concept development. At the knowledge prebuild phase, planning groups comprised of marketing and design representatives match market opportunities and available technology. The product manager and the product designer analyze the market potential of the concept and develop draft specifications and plans for project management and investment. Senior corporate and divisional management evaluate the new business opportunity as a cost effective and innovative technological solution that could be developed with sustainable margins on cost, revenues, and technology.
2. Definition Stage
Review of the product concept marks the end of the next major stage in the new product development cycle. During this stage, the product concept is defined, and marketing sets the context within which integration of design and manufacturing occurred. Commercial specification, outlining the functional and aesthetic features of the product, its price range, and its market launch program, including the required launch date are developed. These items act as commercial guideposts around which design and manufacturing engineering designed the product form, fit, and functions.
3. Development Stage
During this stage, the project team develops detailed specifications of what the product is and how it performs, what it looks like, how it is manufactured, and how it is used.
4. Verification Stage
The complete product is assembled by manufacturing, and tested under normal and worst-case conditions in typical customer application environments. The aim is to discover defects early and establish margins for failure modes, so that adjustments could be made as quickly as possible, before the sales and production ramp started. When the product meets the commercial, manufacturability, quality, and performance criteria of the project team, the review panel assesses the readiness to step-up production and ship to customers in volume.
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This paper aims to focus on the relation of technology in product development, primarily, the computerized manufacturing planning systems. Almost all modern production systems are implemented using computers. The term computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) has been used to denote the pervasive use of computers to design the products, plan the production, control the operations, and perform the various business related functions needed in a manufacturing firm. CAD/ CAM is another term used synonymously to CIM. Computer-Aided design (CAD) is defined as any activity that involves the effective use of the computer to create, modify, or document an engineering design. It is most commonly associated with the use of interactive computer graphics system. On the other hand, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is defined as the effective use of computer technology in the planning, management and control of the manufacturing functions. An important link between design and manufacturing in a CAD/CAM system is the computer aided process planning.
Computer-Aided Process Planning
Process planning encompasses the activities and functions to prepare a detailed set of plans and instructions to produce a part. The planning begins with engineering drawings, specifications, parts or material lists and a forecast of demand. The results of the planning are:
· Routings which specify operations, operation sequences, work centers, standards, tooling and fixtures.This routing becomes a major input to the manufacturing resource planning system to define operations for production activity control purposes and define required resources for capacity requirements planning purposes.
· Process plans which typically provide more detailed,step-by-step work instructions including dimensions related to individual operations, machining parameters, set-up instructions, and quality assurance checkpoints.
· Fabrication and assembly drawings to support manufacture (as opposed to engineering drawings to define the part).
Manual process planning is based on a manufacturing engineer's experience and knowledge of production facilities,equipment, their capabilities, processes, and tooling. Process planning is very time-consuming and the results vary based on the person doing the planning.
Over the years, process planning has been improved and computerized. The use of computers to automate the process of preparing the set of detailed work instructions required to manufacture a product is called a Computer-aided Process Planning.
There are two types of CAPP systems:
1. Variant CAPP (Retrieval CAPP)
A process planning system that creates new plans by retrieving and modifying a standard process plan for a given part family. This typically requires input from a human planner.
2. Generative CAPP
A process planning system, including a database and decision logic that will automatically generate a process plan from graphical and textual information on the part. Generative process planners should create a new process plan, without the use of any existing plans. This does not imply that the process planner is automatic.
Variant Process Planning
Most successful variant systems depend upon Group Technology(GT). The basic variant approach to process planning with GT is:
1. Go through normal GT setup procedures
2. After part families have been identified, develop standard process plans for each.
3. When a new product has been designed, get a GT code for each part.
4. Use the GT system to look up which part family is the closest match, and retrieve the standard plan for that part family.
5. Edit the standard plan so that values now match the new design parameters, and add or delete steps as required.
Some benefits of the GT system are,
1. - It is well suited to medium to low product mixes
2. - It can be developed quickly for most companies
3. - Can be used with other CIM
4. - One program can be used in radically different industries
1. - GT codes can become obsolete quickly
2. - While it is fast to setup, it is slower for planning than generative systems
3. - More prone to error than generative systems
Generative Process Planning
The generative systems are poorly developed at this point in time, and tend to be research systems, or very limited domain. These systems rely heavily upon the methods of Artificial Intelligence, or very complex algorithms. An example of a Generative system is the development of rules deciding which machines to use.
·Possible sources of input vary from system to system, but they are essentially,
1. - Interpret designs from CAD directly (very difficult)
2. - User defines features then answers questions about them
3. - The user does design directly on the CAPP system.
4. - The users creates a special product description file
·A rule example for a CAPP system called XPS-2 is shown below,
0010 EXECUTE MILL_HOLE FOR EACH BLIND_HOLE IF
BLIND_HOLE.DIAMETER GT 25.,
BLIND_HOLE.DEPTH LT 50. !
This rule identifies the operation, the feature it is used on, and the two conditions for it to be used. When rules are used, the number of rules in the system becomes very large.
1. - Runs faster when planning
1. - Requires a more extensive setup
1. Process rationalization and standardization. Automated process planning leads to more logical and consistent process plans than when process planning is done completely manually.
2. Increased productivity of process planners. The systematic approach and the availability of standard process plans in the data files permit more work to be accomplished by the process planners.
3. Reduced lead time for process planning. Process planners working with the CAPP system can provide route sheets in a shorter lead time compared to manual preparation.
4. Improved legibility. Computer-prepared route sheets are neater and easier to read than manually prepared route sheets.
5. Incorporation of other application programs. The CAPP Program can be interfaced with other application programs, such as cost estimating, work standards and others.
Based on DRM Associates, Significant benefits can result from the implementation of CAPP. In a detailed survey of twenty-two large and small companies using generative-type CAPP systems, the following estimated cost savings were achieved:
· 58% reduction in process planning effort
· 10% saving in direct labor
· 4% saving in material
· 10% saving in scrap
· 12% saving in tooling
· 6% reduction in work-in-process
The implementation of either a variant or generative CAPP system forces a firm to standardize their process planning procedures. This standardization should reduce, if not, eliminate process planning errors and improve over all plan consistency relative to manual systems. A variant system attempts to augment the process planners skills, not replace them. On the other hand, a generative system could theoretically take over process planning of simple parts, leaving the planner to devote time to more complex planning tasks.
Stoll and Ettlie. Managing the Design-Manufacturing Process. 1990. Mc-Graw Hill, Inc.
Groover,M. Automation, Production Systems and Computer Integrated Manufacturing. 1980. Prentice-Hall.