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		     An Automated Sheet Metal Shop

	I propose  to study,  plan and  develop an automated  design,
planning  and  manufacturing  system  consisting  of  an  interactive
graphics display  terminal,   a large  timeshare  computer, a  design
automation program, a manufacturing planning program, a manufacturing
execution  program,   and a totally  automated manufacturing facility
containing a collection of computer controlled metal working machines
and  one  or more  computer  controlled manipulators  to  set up  the
machines and perform all the necessary manipulation of the material.

	To execute  this project,   I  will develop  new theories  of
design  and new approaches  to describing  manufacturing processes to
create a complete chain  of automation.   More specifically,  I  will
take  existing  and  shortly   forthcomming  rapid  geometric  design
(GEOMED)  programs and will  develop new monitor  routines to provide
interactive design assistance  reflecting the manufacturability of  a
particular design,   as it is being designed.   I will also develop a
program to interpret the completed  design in terms of  manufacturing
operations. This  manufacturing planning  program would  have as  its
inputs  the  design,   the  materials available,    and  the machines
available. The output  will be a set  of instructions detailing  each
operation required to make the  part. Completing the entire system, I
will  work to  develop a  set of  computer controlled machines  and a
manipulator with a  suitable grasping device  to handle the  material
and operate the machines.  Along with this hardware setup,  I plan to
develop a workable execution  program which would properly  interpret
the planning  program's output  in terms  of machine and  manipulator

	To make the scope of this project realistic from a standpoint
of both  actually demonstrating the theories and principles developed
and being completed  in a reasonable  period of time,   I propose  to
limit the acceptable part design  to sheet aluminum chassis and boxes
of  a generally regular  shape.   Included in this  category would be
degenerate shapes,  such as  brackets and sections  with simple  hole
patterns and bends.

	  Coupled  with   the  planning,  programming   and  hardware
development aspects of  this project,  will be a detailed theoretical
study  of  the  design   process  as  it  relates  to   manufacturing
activities.    This will  require  new  constructs in  modelling  and
understanding  the  man-machine  aspects  of  automated,  interactive
design.   It  is  hoped  that  this  work will  not  only  provide  a
theoretical  basis for future  development but  will,  by  its actual
software and hardware implementation,  help to prove the  feasability
of the conceptual theories developed by this research.