Integration of CAD/CAM Systems for Production of Structural Components
As a result of existing aerospace design and drafting practices, and of existing manufacturing and tooling practices, component mating parts may be fabricated which do not fit properly with each other, producing a situation where product failure portential is established. A typical aerospace vehicle is constructed of various types of mating components such as formed parts, machined parts, stretched parts, honeycomb assemblies, etc. The parts design may be described by diverse means. For instance, the machined part will be completely dimensioned, whereas the formed part will be described by “lofting”. Theoretically, these diverse means all originate from one source. However, in actual practice, that source may be interpreted, manipulated, and toleranced as it is used in order to describe the particular parts. In addition, the source is further distorted as the component parts are methodized and tooled. This is especially possible where there is a “family” of tools, such as mock-ups, casts, masters and templates — mainly produced by hand skills — required in order to fabricate the production tools and whereby tolerance is allowed to accumulate between each successive generation within the tool family. The net result of existing design and of existing manufacturing practices may result in a conflict between mating component parts.
With the advent of computer graphics, a technology is afforded whereby product design is truly described by a single source. This source, residing as a mathematical model in a computer, is accessed to discretely describe all mating parts and to generate machine parts to either fabriacte the parts or to fabricate the tools required to make the part. The family of tools is reduced or entirely eliminated in the process. The net result is an improvement in component parts quality and in an improved assembly which is more likely to perform its function.
This chapter will describe this technology and will show how it is being implemented to improve product quality.
KeywordsMachine Part Interactive Computer Graphic Electron Beam Welding Production Tooling Product Failure
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