Technological advances are reshaping the face of manufacturing, creating paperless manufacturing environments in which computer automated process planning (CAPP) will play a preeminent role. The two reasons for this effect are: Costs are declining, which encourages partnerships between CAD and CAPP developers and access to manufacturing data is becoming easier to accomplish in multivendor environments. This is primarily due to increasing use of LANs; IGES and the like are facilitating transfer of data from one point to another on the network; and relational databases (RDBs) and associated structured query language (SQL) allow distributed data processing and data access.
With the introduction of computers in design and manufacturing, the process planning part needed to be automated. The shop trained people who were familiar with the details of machining and other processes were gradually retiring and these people would be unavailable in the future to do process planning. An alternative way of accomplishing this function was needed and Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) was the alternative. Computer aided process planning was usually considered to be a part of computer aided manufacturing. However computer aided manufacturing was a stand alone system. Infact a synergy results when CAM is combined with CAD to create a CAD/CAM. In such a system CAPP becomes the direct connection between design and manufacturing.
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