The product design is a plan for the product and its components and subassemblies. To convert the product design into a physical entity, a manufacturing plan is needed. The activity of developing such a plan is called process planning. It is a link between product design and manufacturing. Process planning involves determining the sequence of processing and assembly steps that must be accomplished to make the product. It is concerned with the engineering and technological issues of how to make the product and its parts. What types of equipment and tooling are required to fabricate the part and assemble the product. It involves determining the most appropriate manufacturing and assembly process and sequence in which they should be accomplished to produce a given part or product according to the specifications set forth in the product design documentation. All the related information is documented on a Route Sheet .The planning begins with engineering drawings, specifications, parts or material lists and a forecast of demand. The scope and variety of processes that can be planned are generally limited by the available processing equipment and technological capabilities of the company or the plant.
Process planning is usually accomplished by manufacturing engineers. Based on process planner’s skill, knowledge, and experience, the processing steps are developed in the most logical sequence, to make each part.
The following are the list of many decisions and details usually included within the scope of process planning.
• Interpretation of design drawings: The part or product design must be analyzed (materials, dimensions, tolerances, surface finishes etc) at the start of the process planning procedure.
• Processes and sequences: The process planner must select which processes are required and their sequence. A brief description of all processing steps must be prepared.
• Equipment selection: In general, process planers’ must develop plans that utilize existing equipment in the plant. Otherwise, the component must be purchased or an investment must be made in new equipment.
• Tools, Dies, Moulds, Fixtures and gauges: The process planner must decide what tooling is required for each processing step. The actual design and fabrication of these tools is usually delegated to a tool design department and tool room or an outside vendor specializing in that type of tool is contracted.
• Method analysis: Workplace layout, small tools, hoists for lifting heavy parts even in some cases hand and body motions must be specified for manual operations. The industrial engineering department is usually responsible for this area.
• Work standards: Work measurement techniques are used to set time standards for each operation.
• Cutting tools and cutting conditions: These must be specified for machining operations often with reference to standard handbook recommendations.
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