perm filename PROP4A[1,VDS] blob sn#081091 filedate 1974-01-08 generic text, type T, neo UTF8
00200				January 3, 1973
00500			An Automated Sheet Metal Shop
00800		Sheet  metal  fabrication  has  been  considered  a  hard  to
00900	automate field because of the types of machines used and the need  to
01000	do  a  lot  of manipulating of material which can frequently be large
01100	floppy sheets, of  varying  thicknesses,  yield  strength  and  stock
01200	dimension.      For  prototype  manufacture,  the  setup time of each
01300	cutting,notching,  punching,  bending  or  spot   welding   operation
01400	represents  almost  the  entire cost of manufacture.    Automation of
01500	these processes has been limited to n.c.  punches and n.c.  stops  on
01600	hand  fed shears.  True automation has been accomplished only in very
01700	high production runs in  which  special  purpose  dies  are  used  in
01800	blanking  and  stamping  presses to replace the traditional short run
01900	methods.
02100		I propose to  develop  and  assemble  a  demonstration  fully
02200	automated  prototype  part  sheet metal fabricating shop.    The shop
02300	would actually be  an  integral  part  of  an  automated  design  and
02400	manufacturing  system  consisting  of an interactive graphics display
02500	terminal, a large timeshare computer, a design automation program,  a
02600	manufacturing  planning  program,  a manufacturing execution program,
02700	and  a  totally  automated  manufacturing   facility   containing   a
02800	collection  of  computer  controlled sheet metal working machines and
02900	one or more computer controlled manipulators to set up  the  machines
03000	and perform all the necessary manipulation of the sheet material.
03200		To  execute  this  ambitious  project,  I  will  both utilize
03300	existing programs and routines, and will develop new programs to fill
03400	the  gaps  in the chain.  More specifically, I will take existing and
03500	shortly forthcomming rapid geometric design (GEOMED)  programs  which
03600	presently  exist  and will develop new routines to monitor the design
03700	and provide interactive design assistance and  comments  which  would
03800	reflect  the manufacturability of a particular design, as it is being
03900	designed.  I will also develop a program to interpret  the  completed
04000	design  in  terms  of  manufacturing operations.   This manufacturing
04100	planning program would have as its inputs the  design,  the  material
04200	available,  and the machines available. The output will be a sequence
04300	of instructions detailing each operation required to make  the  part.
04400	Completing  the  entire  system,  I  will  work  to  develop a set of
04500	computer controlled  machines  and  a  manipulator  with  a  suitable
04600	grasping device to both handle the material and operate the machines.
04700	Along with this hardware setup, I  will  work  towards  developing  a
04800	workable   execution  program  which  would  properly  interpret  the
04900	planning  program's  output  in  terms  of  machine  and  manipulator
05000	commands.
05200		To make the scope of this project realistic from a standpoint
05300	of both actually working, and being completed in a reasonable  amount
05400	of  time,  I  propose  to  limit the acceptable design to chassis and
05500	boxes of a generally regular shape.  Included in this category  would
05600	be  degenerate shapes, such as brackets and sections with simple hole
05700	patterns and bends.  Multiple part assemblies would also be  excluded
05800	to simplify the manipulation tasks.
06000			Coupled  with  this  programming  effort and hardware
06100	development project, will be  a  study  of  new  technology  and  new
06200	approaches to the execution of some of these traditional problems. As
06300	an example, laser cutting of cloth is in industiral use now, and  its
06400	implications for use in the sheet metal cutting , shaping and forming
06500	field are obvious.  Electromagnetic and explosive forming  are  other
06600	areas  where  improved automatic planning , control and execution can
06700	put a laboratory demonstrated technique into  a  realistic  place  in
06800	industry.