The world wide demand for integrated CAD/CAM/CAE software solutions is growing rapidly. The computer professional services business which includes systems integrators is expected to grow to meet that demand because data exchange formats and interface protocols between CAD/CAM/CAE software applications are for the most part incompatible. This incompatibility results in increased business opportunities for professional integrators who create custom integration solutions to support data exchange between software applications. These solutions are expensive to implement, require a great deal of time to develop, are very inflexible, and are not based upon industry standards. These custom solutions result in numerous problems that can be broken down into three major technical impediments: 1) the lack of understanding of what information and knowledge is shared between manufacturing design, planning, and production areas, 2) the lack of information standards that define structure and content of data that must be shared by multiple manufacturing applications, and 3) the lack of standard interface protocols between support systems, e.g., communications and database management systems, that would facilitate the sharing of information between independently-developed software applications

This paper presents perspectives on engineering tool integration issues. It also describes work underway to address those issues at NIST in Computer-Aided Manufacturing Engineering (CAME) and Systems Integration for Manufacturing Applications (SIMA) programs. Some of the technical activities include integration of design, process planning, plant layout, scheduling, and production simulation systems. A virtual production facility has been established using simulation and virtual reality systems that will provide a basis for validating manufacturing data before it is released to the shop floor.


Manufacturing software integration manufacturing engineering simulation virtual manufacturing process modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. R. McLean
    • 1
  1. 1.Manufacturing Systems EngineeringNational Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)GaithersburgUSA

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