Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP)
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Definition

Technological advances are reshaping the face of manufacturing, creating paperless manufacturing environments in which computer automated process planning (CAPP) will play a preeminent role. The two reasons for this effect are: Costs are declining, which encourages partnerships between CAD and CAPP developers and access to manufacturing data is becoming easier to accomplish in multivendor environments. This is primarily due to increasing use of LANs; IGES and the like are facilitating transfer of data from one point to another on the network; and relational databases (RDBs) and associated structured query language (SQL) allow distributed data processing and data access.
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With the introduction of computers in design and manufacturing, the process planning part needed to be automated. The shop trained people who were familiar with the details of machining and other processes were gradually retiring and these people would be unavailable in the future to do process planning. An alternative way of accomplishing this function was needed and Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) was the alternative. Computer aided process planning was usually considered to be a part of computer aided manufacturing. However computer aided manufacturing was a stand alone system. Infact a synergy results when CAM is combined with CAD to create a CAD/CAM. In such a system CAPP becomes the direct connection between design and manufacturing.

Moreover, the reliable knowledge based computer-aided process planning application MetCAPP software looks for the least costly plan capable of producing the design and continuously generates and evaluates the plans until it is evident that non of the remaining plans will be any better than the best one seen so far. The goal is to find a useful reliable solution to a real manufacturing problem in a safer environment. If alternate plans exist, rating including safer conditions is used to select the best plans


COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN (CAD)

A product must be defined before it can be manufactured. Computer Aided Design involves any type of design activity that makes use of the computer to develop, analyze or modify an engineering design. There are a number of fundamental reasons for implementing a computer aided design system.
a. Increase the productivity of the designer: This is accomplished by helping the designer to visualize the product and its component subassemblies and parts; and by reducing the time required in synthesizing, analyzing, and documenting the design. This productivity improvement translates not only into lower design cost but also into shorter project completion times.
b. To improve the quality of the design: A CAD system permits a more thorough engineering analysis and a larger number of design alternatives can be investigated. Design errors are also reduced through the greater accuracy provided by the system. These factors lead to a better design.
c. To improve communications: Use of a CAD system provides better engineering drawings, more standardization in the drawings, better documentation of the design, fewer drawing error, and greater legibility.
d. To create a database for manufacturing: In the process of creating a the documentation for the product design (geometries and dimensions of the product and its components, material specification for components, bill of materials etc), much of the required data base to manufacture the product is also created.

Design usually involves both creative and repetitive tasks. The repetitive tasks within design are very appropriate for computerization.
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