Setup planning is a set of activities to arrange manufacturing features into an appropriate sequence for processing. As such, setup planning can significantly impact the product quality in terms of dimensional variation in the Key Product Characteristics (KPC’s). Current approaches in setup planning are experience-based and tend to be conservative by selecting unnecessarily precise machines and fixtures to ensure final product quality. This is especially true in multi-stage manufacturing processes because it has been difficult to predict the variation propagation and its impact on KPC quality. In this paper, a new methodology is proposed to realize cost-effective, quality ensured setup planning for multi-stage manufacturing processes. Setup planning is formulated as an optimization problem based on quantitative evaluation with the Stream-of-Variation (SoV) models. The optimal setup plan minimizes the cost related to process precision and satisfies the quality specifications. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is demonstrated through setup planning for a multi-stage machining process.

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