The modern manufacturing environment can be characterized by the paradigm of deliveringproducts of increasing variety, smaller batches and higher quality in the context of increasingglobal competition. Industries cannot survive worldwide competition unless they introduce newproducts with better quality, at lower costs and with shorter lead-time. There is intenseinternational competition and decreased availability of skilled labor. With dramatic changes incomputing power and wider availability of software tools for design and production, engineersare now using Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) andComputer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems to automate their design and production processes.These technologies are now used every day for sorts of different engineering tasks. Below is abrief description of how CAD, CAM, and CAE technologies are being used during the productrealization process.
1.1 PRODUCT REALIZATION PROCESS
The product realization process can be roughly divided into two phases; design andmanufacturing. The design process starts with identification of new customer needs and designvariables to be improved, which are identified by the marketing personnel after getting feedbackfrom the customers. Once the relevant design information is gathered, design specifications areformulated. A feasibility study is conducted with relevant design information and detailed designand analyses are performed. The detailed design includes design conceptualization, prospectiveproduct drawings, sketches and geometric modeling. Analysis includes stress analysis,interference checking, kinematics analysis, mass property calculations and tolerance analysis,and design optimization. The quality of the results obtained from these activities is directlyrelated to the quality of the analysis and the tools used for conducting the analysis.The manufacturing process starts with the shop-floor activities beginning from productionplanning, which uses the design process drawings and ends with the actual product. Processplanning includes activities like production planning, material procurement, and machineselection. There are varied tasks like procurement of new tools, NC programming and qualitychecks at various stages during the production process. Process planning includes planning forall the processes used in manufacturing of the product. Parts that pass the quality controlinspections are assembled functionally tested, packaged, labeled, and shipped to customers.A diagram representing the Product Realization Process ( Mastering CAD/CAM , by Ibrahim Zeid,McGraw Hill, 2005) is shown below.