Integrated Approach to the Selection of Cost-Effective and Lean Process and Equipment in Forming 1999-01-0423
A significant number of formed parts constitute the components of an automobile or aircraft. The formed blanks for the components are produced at different temperatures ranging from room temperature to 2250 degrees Fahrenheit for steel. Forming progressions convert a basic shape or geometry (a cylindrical billet, for example) of metal into a more complex shape close to the required final component geometry. The progression steps, choice of temperatures and equipment significantly impact the cost of the blank. A ‘Discriminating Cost Model’ was developed to capture the cost effectiveness of a given choice of process or equipment, and an AI (Artificial Intelligence) search algorithm implemented to quickly search through the large number of process and equipment selection options to arrive at the most cost effective choice. Two applications of this methodology to existing plant processes to significantly reduce cost and implement ‘lean’ principles of manufacturing are discussed.