perm filename NSFPRO.PHD[1,VDS] blob sn#095659 filedate 1975-02-26 generic text, type C, neo UTF8
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C00002 00002				   A PROPOSAL
C00008 ENDMK


	Sheet metal  fabrication has long  been considered a  hard to
automate field because  of the types of machines used and the need to
do a lot of manipulating  of material, which can frequently be  large
floppy  sheets  of  varying  thickness,   yield  strength  and  stock
dimension. For prototype manufacture, the setup time of each cutting,
notching,  punching,   bending or  spot welding operation  represents
almost the entire cost  of manufacture. Automation of these processes
has been limited to numerically controlled punches and stops on  hand
fed shears. True automation  has been accomplished only in  very high
production runs  using special purpose dies  in cascaded blanking and
stamping  transfer presses  to  replace  the  traditional  short  run

	We  propose to  study and  assemble an  automated design  and
manufacturing  system consisting  of an  interactive graphics display
terminal,   our  PDP 10,  6  and 11  computers, a  design  automation
program, a manufacturing  planning program, a manufacturing execution
program, and a totally automated manufacturing facility containing  a
collection of  computer controlled sheet  metal working  machines and
one or  more computer controlled manipulators to  set up the machines
and perform all the necessary manipulation of the sheet material.

	To execute  this project,  we will  develop new programs  and
will  utilize existing  programs and  routines  to create  a complete
chain of automation.  More specifically,  we propose to take existing
rapid  geometric design  (GEOMED)  programs and  furthur develop  and
expand  them into new monitor routines  to provide interactive design
assistance reflecting the  manufacturability of a particular  design.
We will  also develop programs  to interpret the  completed design in
terms of  manufacturing  operations.    This  manufacturing  planning
program will  be  a  set of  instructions  detailing  each  operation
required to make the part. Completing the entire system, we will work
to develop a group of computer controlled machines and  a manipulator
with suitable grasping devices to handle the material and operate the
machines.  Along with  this  hardware setup,   we  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 working, and  being completed in a reasonable period
of  time, we propose to limit the  acceptable product 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   this  programming   effort  and   hardware
development  project, we suggest  a study  of new technology  and new
approaches to  the execution  of some  traditional problems.   As  an
example; laser,  electromagnetic, impact,  and explosive  forming are
other  areas where  new automatic planning  ,   control and execution
methods can  place  laboratory  demonstrated techniques  into  viable
roles in industry.  We  also propose to begin studies in the field of
robot-machine engineering,  which we propose as a new area of  study,
rather than an extension of man-machine engineering.