Architectural issues in the design and implementation of an integrated toolkit for manufacturing engineering
The integration of commercial off-the-shelf manufacturing engineering tools to produce a manufacturing engineering toolkit is described. These issues are considered by describing the work taking place in an ongoing project to develop such a toolkit. In particular, the approach being taken towards integration of the tools is described, concentrating on the architecture of the solution that is being developed. To this end the paper highlights four main areas: the strengths and weaknesses of an initial prototype toolkit being used as input to the project; the approach being used to describe the architecture of the integrated toolkit; the details of the main elements of a preliminary architecture for the toolkit; and some issues being faced in moving from an architecture to a working implementation that can be used in practice. As a result, the main contributions include a survey of the key issues facing designers of integrated toolkits from the manufacturing domain, an analysis of architectural alternatives for building integrated toolkits, and an illustration of choices that have been made in this regard for satisfying the requirements for a manufacturing engineering toolkit.
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