Feature-based machining advisor

All manufactured items—from the $2 billionspace shuttle to the simplest ink pen—startwith product drawings. These drawings arethen broken into piece parts that can bemanufactured. For more complex products,the process of translating design drawings intomanufacturing parts demands precision andhigh tolerance specification, and requiresexpensive materials and highly skilled labor.The Feature-Based™ Machining Advisor,developed by a team at the Kansas City Plant,is the manufacturing software of the future. Itis composed of three foundational softwarelibraries integrated with a Windows®-basedgraphical user interface, and it runs on a PCdesktop system. This package addressescritical problems by providing solid model-based tools to represent and analyze toleranceinformation, and to automate both geometricalcalculations and the process plan design formachining.The team’s technology transfer partners in thiseffort were CADKEY Corporation ofMarlborough, Mass., and STEP Tools of Troy,N.Y. These partnerships were successfullycarried out through patent licensingagreements and CRADAs.Because the Feature-Based™ MachiningAdvisor was developed by engineersspecifically for a manufacturing application, itsreception by the industry has been strong andhighly favorable. The use of this technologywill ultimately result in improved quality;reduced fabrication, materials and labor costs;and commensurate increases in precisionmanufacturability.
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