In most metal cutting or removing facilities, the task of planning piece part operations and sequences is the responsibility of the process planner. Although this individual holds the key to the profitability of a specific product, little has been done to aid the process planner in the performance of his job. With the cost of machinery skyrocketing as the degree of automation is increasing, much emphasis has been placed on process planning or engineering. This paper outlines the responsibilities and functions carried out by the process planner. The paper is primarily concerned with automated manufacturing systems and, in particular, the planning of parts on machining centers. It demonstrates the decisions required of process planner and the lack of quantifiable data available to make logical decisions at the present time. A review of the two approaches to automated process planning, called variant and generative planning, is presented. The paper also describes some of the shortcomings of classification codes that have been used for automated process planning. The framework for a computer generative process planning scheme is demonstrated. The selection of machining parameters (feed, speed and depth of cut) are also discussed.

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