Process Comprehension for Interoperable CNC Manufacturing

  • Xianzhi Zhang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Over the last 40 years manufacturing industry has enjoyed a rapid growth with the support of various computer-aided systems (CAD, CAPP, CAM etc.) known as CAx. Since the first Numerically Controlled (NC) machine appeared in 1952, there have been many advances in CAx resource capabilities. The information integration and interoperability between different manufacturing resources has become an important and popular research area over the last decade.Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines are an important link in the manufacturing chain and the major contributor to the production capacity of manufacturing industry today. However, most of the research has focused on the information integration of upper systems in the CAD/CAPP/CAM/CNC manufacturing chain, leaving the shopfloor as an isolated information island. In particular, there is limited opportunity to capture and feed shopfloor knowledge back to the upper systems. Furthermore, the part programs for the machines are not exchangeable due to the machine specific postprocessors. Thus there is a further need to consider information interoperability between different CNC machine and other systems.This research investigates the reverse transformation of the CNC part programmes into higher level of process information, entitled process comprehension, to enable the shopfloor interoperability. A novel framework of universal process comprehension is specified and designed. The framework provides a reverse direction of information flow from the CNC machine to upper CAx systems, enabling the interoperability and recycling of the shopfloor knowledge. A prototype implementation of the framework is realised and utilised to demonstrate the functionalities through three industrially inspired test components.The major contribution of this research to knowledge is the new vision of the shopfloor interoperability associated with process knowledge capture and reuse. The research shows that process comprehension of part programmes can provide an effective solution to the issues of the shopfloor interoperability and knowledge reuse in manufacturing industries.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Newman (Supervisor) & Aydin Nassehi (Supervisor)

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