VTC Home Page
 VTC In-House Page
Mechanical Engineering Technology Page
 MEC 2040:
Computer Aided Technology

Technologies and Strategies of Production Systems
(Alphabet Soup)

If some person like myself said, “In this CE environment we’ve been specifying product geometry with a CAD system while we try to do as much DFM as possible because the plant is using FMS for JIT production. We evaluate design early with CAE, and fabricate some tooling electrodes directly from 3D computer models with CAM. It’s a good thing that management is all fired up on TQM so we can organize horizontally which seems to be the key to this whole CE thing in the first place", you would at least know that you’re talking to a geek, but would you have any idea what they were talking about?

CE - Concurrent engineering is primarily the simultaneous integration rather than sequential development of a product’s mechanical design and manufacturing plan. In a broader sense CE can include all aspects of a product’s life cycle from concept to recycling.

CAD - Computer-aided design is more than an improvement on the drafting board. While a blueprint style format is still effective, CAD allows for the geometric modeling and documentation of product geometry in a format that enhances the visualization and development of design concepts and also feeds information to other processes like CAM for material fabrication and CAE for performance analysis.

DFM - Design for manufacture brings manufacturing issues into the design cycle so that the product’s performance in the eyes of the consumer will not be the designer’s only concern. By emphasizing DFM the mechanical designer creates part/product features just to make manufacturing easier, which reduces cost.

FMS - Flexible manufacturing systems integrate manufacturing cells like CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines with part feeding and assembly robots to form highly automated systems capable of quickly changing from one product to another.

JIT - Just-in-time production emphasizes the advantages of low inventory by leveraging technology like FMS and businesses like FEDEX to make product only when it’s ordered.

CAE - Computer-aided engineering uses geometry from CAD to analyze performance parameters like stress or mold filling/cooling usually through numerical methods like finite elements.

CAM - Computer-aided manufacturing most broadly refers to using computers to support a manufacturing process, but most often refers to part fabrication based on CAD geometry (i.e. rapid prototyping and CNC machining).

TQM - Total quality management organizes a manufacturer to build quality into a product from the earliest stages of design instead of waiting until the end to determine product quality. The emphasis here lies on the quality of processes with the presumption that high quality processes (or practices) result in high quality product. TQM often emphasizes horizontal organization.

Horizontal organization - In an operation organized for concurrent engineering an opportunity presents itself to have product development teams made up of persons from a wide range of disciplines called ‘cross-functional’ teams. Where the traditional organization emphasizes the authoritative boss/worker (vertical) relationship, a cross-functional team cuts across those lines (horizontally).

Open Handout Document