Today’s manufacturing plants provide a number of different processing possibilities for manufacturing a specific product. Each one of these processing possibilities poses different advantages and limitations that are function of both geometry and lot size of the part to be manufactured. However, one of the main driving forces in today’s production is the environmental friendliness and the energy efficiency of the production itself.

Additionally, the manufacturing processes are needed to be able to quickly shift between diverse manufacturing operations with short transfer, program and set-up times without compromises to quality, reliability and life-cycle costs. In the proposed project the main object is the development of manufacturing systems that will be highly flexible, and, at the same time, closely adapted to the single product. These manufacturing systems need for an engineering tool able to cover the whole plant operation, from the overall planning of the plant operation (such as the routes that the product follow within the plant and the scheduling of the production) down to the individual process programming (such as process operation, energy efficiency etc). The process planning approach of today is based on expert systems that are able to propose alternative process plans for the manufacturing of a specific product.

Additionally there are tools able to simulate the operation of each machine station both from technological (process parameters, energy efficiency, etc) and economical point of view. All of the available systems though are able to cover only portion of the production, requiring exchange of data between different systems and thus making the overall optimization of the plant operation a hard task.

The proposed project will deliver a manufacturing planning decision support tool for the optimization of the plant operation that will be able to be used from the conceptual phase of the product to the final dispatch of the product to the customer.