Today’s manufacturing plants provide a number of different processing possibilities for manufacturing a specific product. Each one of these processing possibilities poses different advantages and limitations that are function of both geometry and lot size of the part to be manufactured. However, one of the main driving forces in today’s production is the environmental friendliness and the energy efficiency of the production itself.
Additionally, the manufacturing processes are needed to be able to quickly shift between diverse manufacturing operations with short transfer, program and set-up times without compromises to quality, reliability and life-cycle costs. In the proposed project the main object was the development of manufacturing systems that are highly flexible, and, at the same time, closely adapted to the single product. These manufacturing systems need for an engineering tool able to cover the whole plant operation, from the overall planning of the plant operation (such as the routes that the product follow within the plant and the scheduling of the production) down to the individual process programming (such as process operation, energy efficiency etc). The process planning approach of today is based on expert systems that are able to propose alternative process plans for the manufacturing of a specific product.