A Morphological Approach to Machine System Design
Tradition tends to stifle initiative in the design of new machine tool systems. In order to stimulate and promote innovation, a fast and convenient method of modelling machining systems has been conceived and implemented. The morphological nature of the computer software encourages experimentation with a range of machine tool and work transfer configurations. The model concentrates upon the high cost, low volume units within a machine tool. These primitive elements are arranged at the designer’s discretion to create new types of machining structure. Many variations may be investigated and the individual machine tool details arc calculated in response to machine capacity and axes range requirements. This system is self-defining and requires no additional input from the user. The synthesis of the primitive elements into complete designs is done automatically within the computer program. Sets of equations, known as contiguous and concatenated conversions, relate the size and position of individual elements with their neighbours and this iterative process continues until the complete machining system is detailed. Parametric and numeric definitions of the machine units are available to the user depending upon the investigation being undertaken. Computer graphics are used to present a series of menus to the designer and within minutes of the specification input a visual representation of the machining system is shown in a solid form. Detailed engineering drawings of all the units are produced by the model. Twenty-four types of machining centre have been modelled in this way and these realize several thousand distinct and interesting designs.
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