Read Overview First
"The RRM program objective was to shorten time-to-market, improve
quality-to-cost, and enhance product reliability in order to provide the US
manufacturing infrastructure competitive advantage in a variety of global
market sectors. Efforts to accomplish this objective focused on coordinating
and extending the application of feature-based solids modeling, knowledge-based
systems, integrated data management, and direct manufacturing technologies in a
cooperative computing environment.
"The intent in RRM was to implement available technology by achieving
interoperability between existing commercial software applications and
across the existing legacy systems used by the partners through the use of
open architecture. The program was directed through practical application and
integration of existing commercial software through enhancements. Development
efforts focused on interoperability and ease of use.1"
Each manufacturing firm (including Oak Ridge Y-12) selected a different
product family for development. The processes used to produce the parts of
these families were the baseline against which progress was measured. The part
families included connecting rods (Ford), brake cylinders (GM), antenna
housings (Texas Instruments), and families of turned parts and milled/drilled
Rapid Response Manufacturing coordinated and extended the application of
integrated product and process modeling, knowledge-based applications, and
direct manufacturing in a cooperative computing environment. Each participating
firm measured progress of the program relative to seven key system capabilities
intended to reduce design-manufacturing cycle time, improve the quality-to-cost
ratio, and improve reliability. These seven capabilities included:
- Establishing complete models of design and process data.
- Improving access to product and process knowledge.
- Accurately producing the first part.
- Developing products in a single iteration.
- Demonstrating portability of product models among manufacturers.
- Creating new designs from mathematical variations of proven designs.
- Manufacturing parts directly from design models.
The program consisted of research and development in four inter-related
- Integrated Product and Process Models Product and process
data were represented in a single, comprehensive model, so that changes in
either affect all related downstream functions. To ensure interoperability,
models that represent common characteristics and processes were developed.
Product models capture geometry, part features, tolerance information, design
and manufacturing constraints, assembly information, specifications and notes,
and materials information. Process models captured process plans, operator work
instructions for fabrication and assembly, numerical control tool paths and
setup instructions, machine tool control, tool designs (for fixtures, jigs, and
dies), and dunnage.
- Engineering Environment The Engineering Environment was the
computer hardware and software Infrastructure. Hardware included file servers,
workstations, and networking lines and equipment. The environment supported
data repositories containing company- and factory-specific information for
engineering materials, standard components, design analysis characteristics,
process specifications, design guides, manufacturing processing equipment, and
cutting tools. The databases were structured to support direct information
access by engineers and were accessed by knowledge-based application software.
The environment included data management, version control, and configuration
control facilities for product models. The user interface was a critical
portion of the environment.
- Knowledge Based Applications The Knowledge Based applications
drew on feature-based product models, models of manufacturing processes, and
databases of materials to conduct design optimization and manufacturing
production plans which can be downloaded directly to the factory floor.
- Direct Manufacturing Manufacturing test beds were located at
a central site in Michigan, with remote sites at Texas Instruments, and Oak
Ridge. These sites were established to validate Rapid Response Manufacturing by
directly manufacturing products from design software. Traditional machining
equipment as well as various types of freeform fabrication machinery was used
in this effort.