--> ECAPP--A Process Planning Tool Using Artificial Intelligence

Allan Fraser, Harry Sloate, and Mitchell Tseng, Digital Equipment Corporation

The electronics computer-aided process-planning (Ecapp) system is a rule- and frame- based generative process-planning system for the assembly of electronic components onto printed circuit boards (or moduless). Ecapp uses expert process-engineering knowledge, a manufacturing plant’s specific process capabilities, and product information from a computer-aided design (Cad) database to generate all the feasible process routes for a product through a factory. Ecapp then recommends the best route based on the plant’s process-engineering rules and generates the numeric control code, or insertion and onsertion (onsertion refers to placing surface mount components) patterns, for the automatic assembly equipment. Ecapp also checks module ease of manufacture based on a specific plant’s process characterization and allows manufacturing engineers to simulate product assembly using rule-based simulation before releasing a product to the manufacturing floor.

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