This paper describes a system for the design and production of sheet metal parts. We have designed over sixty test parts with our “Parallel Design” system, and the features are automatically generated as the design progresses. After the design is complete, our automatic process planning system uses the features and generates new ones to aid the production of a near-minimum manufacturing cost plan. Finally, these plans are used to produce parts on an automatic bending system.
The results of our Intelligent Bending Workstation outperform human experts in many cases, while achieving a key goal; to complete planning and production in less than 30 minutes. In industry, this process can take substantially longer (in some cases, weeks).
Once a plan is produced it can be used to produce the part, and to provide feedback to design and other factory systems. Several key manufacturing problems are considered and the result of planning is used to resolve these problems.