Journal article

A roadmap for implementing new manufacturing technology based on STEP-NC

Manufacturing is changing. New ideas of control, the maturity of CAM techniques and computer technology have enabled the definition of an advanced machine tool control standard, STEP-NC. STEP-NC is one part of a larger manufacturing picture with links to different manufacturing applications using the STEP suite of standards. STEP-NC is the key to a door behind which there is a rich field of research on manufacturing techniques and opportunities for lean, intelligent and flexible manufacturing. The problem is to pass through that door. Many potential users are waiting for a lead from control developers. Control developers are waiting for market interest. Existing legacy machinery and investment in traditional machining add inertia. Instead of having a clear development path, manufacturing has become something of a Gordian knot waiting to be disentangled. New research projects are addressing these issues as well, but this paper takes a different route in showing how strategic planning can lead to adoption of the new techniques in a phased way, a so-called 'Roadmap'. The contribution of this paper is the manner in which the overall task of implementation has been subdivided into tasks and phases to achieve the introduction of the new technology.


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