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University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
In order to support the development of specialized robotic vehicles, such as planetary rovers, undersea vehicles, and autonomous land vehicles one needs to be able to construct prototypes rapidly, and to produce and low cost/high precision products in low volumes. Under current technologies, these objective are difficult or impossible to attain. Manufacturing the parts for a single prototype takes months, making testing of new designs very slow. Additionally, producing specialized parts in low volumes is very expensive, particularly when those parts require high precision and have complex geometries. These difficulties make the production of of even a vehicle a costly and lengthy process.
Many manufacturing costs and delays are incurred in the interfaces between the manufacturing and design phases. For example, during the design phase, the designer may put work on hold while waiting for the manufacturing engineer to provide some information. If the designer must proceed with out that information, there is a cost incurred because the design decisions made will be less optimal. This work aims to shorten cycle times, and reduce costs while maintaining quality by developing tools which improve the interface between design and manufacturing. In particular, we aim to move more manufacturability information into the the design phase. Manufacturability information refers to data about manufacturing feasibility, cost, and time. Having manufacturability information available enables designers to make better initial design decisions, which results in reduced manufacturing cost, fewer design revisions, and shorter overall development time. An additional benefit of this technology is that it is also what is required to keep American manufacturing industries competitive in a world market that demands high quality at low cost.
Recent progress has resulted in a Positional Tolerance Process Planner. This work focuses on modeling the relationship between tolerance specifications and manufacturing cost. Tolerance specifications are the designer's way of communicating the amount of variability that is allowed in the product to the manufacturing engineer. Tolerance issues are also tightly coupled to quality issues. We chose to look at positional tolerances because they have a very large impact on cost. The result of this work is a tool that can give accurate manufacturing cost estimates to the designer immediately, enabling the designer to make better decisions and produce more cost effective designs.
For an appointment with the speaker, please contat Michelle Agie (maa@ri, x8-8818)