A study of process planning for metal cutting
Abstract: Process planning as a function for competitiveness is often neglected. However, as an intermediary between product development and manufacturing, it holds a key function in transforming product specifications and requirements into a producible process plan. Demands and requirements should be met concurrently as manufacturing costs and lead times are minimised. The focus of this thesis is the act of process planning, where the use of better methodologies, computer-aids and performance measurements are essential parts. Since process planning has the function of transforming demands and requirements, changing customer and regulative requirements are vital to regard. Since environmentally benign products and production increases in importance, the research presented in this thesis includes a CNC machining cost model, which relates machining costs to energy consumption. The presented results in this thesis are based on quantitative and qualitative studies in the metal working industry. This thesis has contributed to an enhanced understanding of process planning to achieve better performance and important areas for improvements. Despite a 50 year history of computerised process planning aids, few of these are used in the industry, where manual process planning activities are more common. Process planning aids should be developed around the process planner so that non-value adding activities, such as information management and documentation are minimised in order to allow more resources for value adding activities, such as decision making. This thesis presents a study of systematic process planning in relation to perceived efficiency. This correlation could however not be verified, which opens up for further studies of other possible explanations for process planning efficiency. Process planning improvements in the industry are difficult to make, since there is little focus on process planning activities and limited knowledge about actual performance hereof. This means that measures taken regarding process planning development are difficult to verify.
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