Work smarter, save time with knowledge-based machining.

Author:Fishman, Hanan
Position:Software Solutions

Knowledge is power. That's a phrase we have all heard so many times, it's cliche...almost. In today's manufacturing environment--where every second counts and customer demands with respect to lead times and tolerances have never been higher--working harder just won't cut it. Shops must work smarter.

Knowledge-based machining technology (KBM) is one way that many top shops are working smarter. Knowledge-based machining allows a shop to store its unique expertise in its computer aided manufacturing (CAM) system so that this knowledge can be applied to future jobs automatically resulting in faster part programming and standardization of machining practices resulting in better parts in less time.

Why is KBM important?

Knowledge-based machining software relieves the user of the tedious process of reentering the same tooling and process information over and over again in every program. It allows shop personnel to benefit from the expertise of the most skilled programmer, who creates the knowledge base.

In recent years, this technology has become an essential part of CAM because of the necessity for manufacturing personnel to capture their own shop specific knowledge and share this information with their colleagues. After all, this expertise has been gained over many years and shops spend a great deal of time and effort imparting this knowledge to their people. Knowledge-based machining assures them that this information is stored and applied to all the parts they manufacture.

How does KBM work?

Knowledge-based machining allows a shop to speed programming by literally remembering information about tooling, feeds and speeds and repetitive operations. For example, in PartMaker, as the user programs a part, he starts by entering information into three databases.

A tools database allows the user to keep track of current tool inventory. Geometric characteristics saved with each tool are used for the automatic determination of cutting conditions such as the calculation of hole depth. A pictorial representation of each tool in a separate window simplifies the entry of tool parameters. Corrective coefficients compensate for tool wear. Special fields are reserved for the customer's data, including part numbers, reordering information, and toolholders among others. This means, that when an NC (numerical control) program is generated, all this valuable information can be placed directly in the G-code program improving set-up documentation.

Historically, CAM...

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