An FMS Test Part (1978/ 80)
The goals and objectives were to develop and manufacture a complex test part that could be manufactured on our Flexible Manufacturing System in different setups, following different dynamically allocated routes, for the purpose of indirect machine and system testing and system capability analysis.
My analytical / engineering challenge in this project was to develop a mathematical tolerance analysis model for a family of parts that we planned to manufacture on our FMS (designed and implemented by ourselves), then put all the required test features onto one combined part. A further challenge was that this test part had to be a standard casting of a gearbox family, to cut cost.
The method/ model was validated by designing, cutting, testing and then analysing various parts on various machines, following various dynamically allocated routes in the FMS between horizontal and vertical milling, washing and inspection.
The practical, industrial use: The designed parts and the method was used for the FMS as well as for other NC/ CNC machines and cells.
Major lessons learned included lots of integrated product/ process innovation, product inspection and testing and dynamic production control in cells and FMSs.
The photographs below illustrate various alternatives of the "FMS TEst Parts" that I have designed.