A Flexibel Design Automation System for Toolsets for the Rotary Draw Bending of Aluminium Tubes
Paper i proceeding, 2007
For parts suppliers in the manufacturing industry, the process of preliminary production preparation and the subsequent calculation of offers are critical business activities. A vital part of production preparation is the design of fixtures and tooling necessary for many processes of metal forming. In order for a company to give quick responses to customer enquiries or changes in prior specifications, it would be highly beneficial with a degree of automation in this design process. This implies the development of a computer based system able to capture existing design procedures and associated knowledge for the classes of tooling required for the forming process.
In this work, an implementation for the rotary draw bending of aluminum tubing has been done to exemplify how to develop an automated design system. The system is based on heuristic knowledge developed over many years of practical experience, knowledge analytically derived from fundamental theory found in scientific literature, and rules based on empirical data from trial manufacturing. The system applies knowledge to a given specification that a skilled engineer otherwise would do manually. The system output can be used to evaluate whether a tube is producible.
The main idea behind the system is to use knowledge objects containing information on inputs, outputs, constraints and what software are used to implement the knowledge pieces. This approach makes the system highly flexible and allows for multiple types of knowledge that might overlap. When an offering calculation is wanted, the system is set to run applicable knowledge objects for presented input data. Other objects are run when an accurate calculation for detailing is wanted for a more detailed set of input data. The system is built on readily available commercial software packages connected with a simple Visual Basic .Net program.
When building a system of this kind, it is essential that the knowledge documentation and structure be such that the functions of the system can be easily understood by the users of the system and by future developers. Aspects of user friendliness, transparency and scalability are addressed in the summary of this paper.
Knowledge Based Engineering
Rotary Draw Bending