Special Issue on Emerging Technology in Manufacturing
Dept. of Mechanical and Control Engineering, University of Electro Communications, 1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182, Japan
Manufacturing yields value from worthlessness. Thus, in recent years, manufacturing technologies have been undergoing rapid change in order to produce products of high quality, at a low cost and with short lead times. Improvements and innovations, with regard to manufacturing technologies, range from the fundamentals to large-scale systems. Therefore, the guest editor would like to introduce the new manufacturing technology, together with the latest research results. One of the most recent key technologies is the so-called rapid-prototyping technology. It shortens the development period of new products from the design stage. Many rapid-prototyping technologies are being developed concurrently. In this issue, the state of the art is explained clearly by an expert in the field. For mechanical products, manufacturing capabilities are highly dependent upon machine tools. In this issue, there is a research paper concerned with a design method for multi-purpose machine tools that can fabricate a variety of products. Machining efficiency is strongly influenced by the positioning accuracy and feed velocity of the axis movement of the machine tools. A control algorithm that can achieve high speed and accuracy is proposed in a paper in this issue. In order to make the most of NC machine tools, it is essential to provide NC data rapidly However, it is difficult to generate NC data, especially for multi-axis control machine tools capable of machining workpieces with complicated shapes. The development of 6-axis control CAM software for creating sculpted surfaces is reviewed in the issue. Another paper deals with NC data generation for sculpted surface processing using virtual reality. In FA systems, the nature of the programming/execution environment is shifting from a concentrated one to a distributed one, and a worker-friendly manufacturing environment is required for the workers. Two papers are presented for realizing such environments. Recently, ultra-precision machining and micro-machining technologies have been attracting great interest as a result of their ability to produce micro-mechanisms and micro-robots. One paper describes production of a prototypical tiny part with a sculpted surface using an ultra-precision milling machine. Another is related to simulation of an atomic level cutting mechanism that applies molecular dynamics. Manufacturing technology is making tremendous progress, and is putting promising new technologies into use toward the goal of realizing intelligent manufacturing systems, IMS. The guest editor heartily hopes that this issue aids in comprehension of the emerging technology in the manufacturing field.