CAx Process Chains in Toolmaking

© Fraunhofer IPT

The production and repair of components for tool and mold making require a sequence of different processes such as the measurement of the component, laser processing, machining or electrical-discharge machining. This not only involves a lot of planning, but processes such as 5-axis machining of complex geometries are no longer conceivable today without computer-aided systems. CAx systems such as CAD and CAM support employees computer-based in the planning and execution of these manufacturing processes.

Usually, the individual machining processes take place on different machines. The production data are often available in different formats or versions. Due to this discrepancy, the intermediate and end products show errors, are completely unusable or of inferior quality. CAx process chains connect these individual CAx systems from design to production and quality assurance. The "CAx Framework" developed at the Fraunhofer IPT provides the technical basis for the development of software modules for adaptive CAx process chains. The individual process steps can be implemented in so-called "function blocks" and then connected to form a continuous process chain. For example, the laser deposition welding and milling processes can be combined to form a continuous CAx process chain and data consistency can be ensured throughout the entire product life cycle.