In manufacturing companies, computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) feature-based approaches have been developed for faster numerical control (NC) programming. They allow to automatically generate toolpath, recognizing both standard and custom machining features, and defining for each of them the best or preferred machining process based on predefined rules. The definition of Feature Based Manufacturing (FBM) rules requires advanced competences and skills; furthermore, the standardization required by these instruments is too rigorous for real machining practices. It is therefore necessary to extend the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) environment in order to be able to make explicit and manage manufacturing rules based on industrial best practice. The paper addresses these problems presenting a possible solution to optimize FBM information management and integration within the product lifecycle. A data model extension, covering new items such as “manufacturing rules” and “tool setting preferences”, and a new methodology for rules management and deployment are proposed.
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