perm filename PROP4B[1,VDS] blob sn#081095 filedate 1974-01-08 generic text, type T, neo UTF8
00400			An Automated Sheet Metal Shop
00700		Sheet metal fabrication has long been considered  a  hard  to
00800	automate  field because of the types of machines used and the need to
00900	do a lot of manipulating of material, which can frequently  be  large
01000	floppy   sheets  of  varying  thickness,  yield  strength  and  stock
01100	dimension.        For prototype manufacture, the setup time  of  each
01200	cutting,  notching,  punching,  bending  or  spot  welding  operation
01300	represents almost the entire cost of manufacture.      Automation  of
01400	these  processes  has  been  limited to numerically controlled (n.c.)
01500	punches and n.c.  stops on hand fed shears.  True automation has been
01600	accomplished  only in very high production runs using special purpose
01700	dies in cascaded blanking and stamping transfer  presses  to  replace
01800	the traditional short run methods.
02000		I  propose  to  develop  and  assemble  a demonstration fully
02100	automated prototype part sheet metal fabricating shop.      The  shop
02200	would  actually  be  an  integral  part  of  an  automated design and
02300	manufacturing system consisting of an  interactive  graphics  display
02400	terminal,  a large timeshare computer, a design automation program, a
02500	manufacturing planning program, a  manufacturing  execution  program,
02600	and   a   totally   automated  manufacturing  facility  containing  a
02700	collection of computer controlled sheet metal  working  machines  and
02800	one  or  more computer controlled manipulators to set up the machines
02900	and perform all the necessary manipulation of the sheet material.
03100		To execute  this  ambitious  project,  I  will  both  utilize
03200	existing programs and routines, and will develop new programs to fill
03300	the gaps in the chain.  More specifically, I will take  existing  and
03400	shortly  forthcomming  rapid  geometric  design (GEOMED) programs and
03500	will develop new  monitor  routines  to  provide  interactive  design
03600	assistance  reflecting  the manufacturability of a particular design,
03700	as it is being designed.  I will also develop a program to  interpret
03800	the  completed  design in terms of manufacturing operations.     This
03900	manufacturing planning program would have as its inputs  the  design,
04000	the  materials available, and the machines available. The output will
04100	be a set of instructions detailing each operation  required  to  make
04200	the  part. Completing the entire system, I will work to develop a set
04300	of computer controlled machines and a  manipulator  with  a  suitable
04400	grasping  device  to  handle  the  material and operate the machines.
04500	Along with  this  hardware  setup,  I  plan  to  develop  a  workable
04600	execution   program  which  would  properly  interpret  the  planning
04700	program's output in terms of machine and manipulator commands.
04900		To make the scope of this project realistic from a standpoint
05000	of  both actually working, and being completed in a reasonable period
05100	of time, I propose to limit the acceptable design to  sheet  aluminum
05200	chassis  and  boxes  of a generally regular shape.   Included in this
05300	category would be degenerate shapes, such as  brackets  and  sections
05400	with simple hole patterns and bends.
05600			Coupled  with  this  programming  effort and hardware
05700	development project, will be  a  study  of  new  technology  and  new
05800	approaches to the execution of some of these traditional problems. As
05900	an example, laser cutting of cloth is in industiral use now, and  its
06000	implications for use in the sheet metal cutting , shaping and forming
06100	field are obvious.  Electromagnetic, impact,  and  explosive  forming
06200	are  other areas where new automatic planning , control and execution
06300	methods can put laboratory demonstrated techniques into  a  realistic
06400	and viable place in industry.