An integrated approach to solving the process plan selection problem in an automated manufacturing system
Selection of a process plan is a crucial decision making problem encountered in manufacturing systems due to the presence of several alternative process plans arising out of availability of several machines, tools, fixtures etc. capable of performing the same operations of the part. Because of its vital impact on the performance of the manufacturing system, several researchers have addressed the plan selection problem in recent years. Although functional integration plays a significant role in the development of current manufacturing systems, many of the functions in manufacturing systems have been developed without a sense of integration. Therefore, it becomes important to emphasize the integration of functions rather than the individual development of the function itself. This paper attempts to address the plan selection problem taking into account the similarity measures among the process plans of the parts. Four algorithms have been developed to integrate the several segments of the process plan selection problem. Application of these algorithms ensures considerable computational simplicity in yielding the feasible process plans of the parts.
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