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Abstract or Description

This paper describes an integrated system for the design and production of sheet metal parts. We have identified some important features for the sheet metal bending process. These features are automatically generated as the design progresses. After the designs are complete, our automatic process planning system uses the features and generates new ones to aid the production of plans with near-minimum manufacturing costs. Finally, these plans are used to produce parts on an automatic bending system. Once a plan is generated, it can be used to manufacture the part, and to provide feedback to design and other factory systems. The application of features and the potential feature interaction problems are discussed. Several key manufacturing problems are also considered and the result of planning is used to resolve these problems. By solving these feature interaction problems and often practical manufacturing issues, we are able to plan and manufacture the majority of the parts we have tested under one hour after the flat patterns are prepared.

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