Computer integrated system for form-roll manufacture
Computer integrated manufacture has brought about great advances in manufacturing technology and its recognition is world wide. Cold roll forming of thin-walled sections, and in particular the design and manufacture of form-rolls, the special tooling used in the cold roll forming process, is but one such area where computer integrated manufacture can make a positive contribution. The work reported in this thesis, concerned with the development of an integrated manufacturing system for assisting the design and manufacture of form-rolls, was undertaken in collaboration with a leading manufacturer of thin-walled sections. A suit of computer programs, written in FORTRAN 77, have been developed to provide computer aids for every aspect of work in form-roll design and manufacture including cost estimation and stock control aids. The first phase of the development programme dealt with the establishment of CAD facilities for form-roll design, comprising the design of the finished section, the flower pattern, the roll design and the interactive roll editor program. Concerning the CAM facilities, dealt with in the second phase, an expert system roll machining processor and a general post-processor have been developed for considering the roll geometry and automatically generating NC tape programs for any required CNC lathe system. These programs have been successfully implemented, as an integrated manufacturing software system, on the VAX 11/750 super-minicomputer with graphics facilities for displaying drawings interactively on the terminal screen. The development of the integrated system has been found beneficial in all aspects of form-roll design and manufacture. Design and manufacturing lead times have been reduced by several weeks, quality has improved considerably and productivity has increased. The work has also demonstrated the promising nature of the expert systems approach to computer integrated manufacture.