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A STEP-compliant process planning system for sheet metal parts

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Sheet metal product design, processes planning and manufacturing are normally carried out in a sequence of stages using different computer-aided software tools. There are many computer-aided design (CAD) systems to take care of product design, computer-aided process planning (CAPP) systems to generate optimal tool paths and plans and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems for various manufacturing requirements such as punching or cutting. According to our literature search, there is no platform or system available that can efficiently integrate the CAPP and CAM and computer numerical control (CNC systems) in sheet metal product development processes. Although ISO 10303 AP207 was formally published by the ISO, its application is limited. This research attempts to develop a prototype STEP-compliant process planning system for sheet metal product development. The system has an interface to input CAD product data. It integrates software modules for nesting optimization, path optimization and planning, simulation, and machining parameters set-up and CNC machining. The focus of the paper is placed on the structure of the prototype STEP-compliant system, as well as the definition of STEP-compliant product data models and interfaces for creating a STEP-compliant programming environment, where the abovementioned software modules are integrated.
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Keywords: Application protocol; Computer-aided process planning; EXPRESS; ST-developer; STEP; Zero thickness and zero radii

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Auckland, Private Bag, 92019, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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