THE PRODUCT DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING DISCIPLINES
It is generally understood that engineers design products. However, an element of this activity that is often underestimated is the necessity for engineers to design processes capable of making products. Manufacturing is the term used to describe the making of products. The product design and manufacturing disciplines are closely related because consideration of how a component is to be manufactured is often a defining criterion for successful design.
The manufacturing discipline has existed in various forms since the tool age. Until the nineteenth century, it was largely an activity reserved for craftsmen. The industrial revolution during the second half of the nineteenth century introduced manufacturing mechanization.
The use of machines for spinning and weaving in the textile industry is generally acknowledged to be the beginning of modern manufacturing. During this same time, Bessemer (1855) in England and William Kelly (1857) in the United States proposed methods for the mass production of steel. This was followed by the Hall-Héroult process (1885) for smelting aluminum. These processes provided relatively cheap sources of the materials required to drive the industrial revolution.
To a large extent, many technological advancements were the result of the availability of new engineering materials. By the end of the nineteenth century, basic machines were available for many rudimentary metal-forming operations. Furthermore, the introduction of interchangeable parts allowed machines to be assembled and repaired without the necessity of hand fitting. The development of the manufacturing activity has progressed rapidly during the last 100 years and is now a multidisciplinary process involving design, processing, quality control, planning, marketing, and cost accounting. This book considers only those aspects of manufacturing processes directly related to metal processing.
Manufacturing has developed into an enormously diverse and complex field. Consequently, the presentation of a generalized body of knowledge on the subject is not an easy task. Metal processing and manufacturing important to understand the basic principles on which, through experience, a practicing engineer can build more specialized knowledge.
It is widely recognized that a continuing supply of engineers well versed in the manufacturing discipline is an essential element of a well developed industrial economy. The importance of manufacturing has led to the introduction of undergraduate engineering courses dealing with this subject.
To limit the scope of the subject and to provide a coherent basis for introductory study, this book deals only with metal processing operations emphasizing metal shaping procedures. Metal shaping operations are of particular importance because metallic materials are most often the load-bearing components of many engineered products and structures. Therefore, an understanding of the processing of these materials is basic to design and structural engineering. Although many of the fundamental concepts presented to deal with metals, they can be applied to many other material systems.
The presentation and analysis of manufacturing processes differ from that of most other engineering disciplines. The analyses of some metal prócesses are dealt with by theories based on the physical sciences in the usual way. Such analyses follow the traditional scientific or engineering approach to developing theories and models to understand physical phenomena.
Somewhat unique to the metal processing discipline is the use of empirical or semiempirical relationships for the analyses of many processes that are less well understood. As such empirical ‘laws’ would seem to be less rigorous than those based on physical laws, it is worth commenting on why these relationships were developed and why they are still useful.
As the industrial revolution progressed, many metal processes came into widespread use simply because they worked. Due to the rudimentary nature of metallurgical knowledge and mechanical engineering available at the time, and the complexity of the processes, a detailed understanding of many operations was impossible.
Of course, this problem did not deter plant operators from using processes that worked and provided good financial returns. Over time, experience allowed the development of empirical relationships to help predict the response of a system to various changes. The continuing widespread use of some of these relationships is a testament of their value to the manufacturing discipline. It is clear, then, that the development of many metal shaping processes preceded theories or models to explain why they work.
Throughout the twentieth century, engineering knowledge has progressed sufficiently that many of the empirical secrets of various processes have been understood.
Furthermore, the speed with which numerical techniques can be carried out by modern computers permits the analysis of many operations that, previously, were nearly impossible. A thorough understanding is still not always possible because of the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of the many processes of interest. Consequently, many operator-derived rules, combined with some fundamentals, have evolved into semiempirical engineering relationships that are still used.
It may be asked: if semiempirical relationships have served successfully for so long, why bother to develop a fundamental understanding? The answer is that, through an enhanced understanding of the fundamental physical laws controlling metal shaping, these processes can be significantly improved in terms of throughput, efficiency, quality, environmental impact, etc. Also, the additional knowledge often permits the extension of some Operations to include new product forms. As useful as semiempirical relationships are, the knowledge developed must include the fundamentals as much as possible. This is emphasized at various points throughout the text.
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