Algorithms for selecting cutters in multi-part milling problems

TitleAlgorithms for selecting cutters in multi-part milling problems
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsYao Z, Gupta SK, Nau DS
JournalComputer-Aided Design
Pagination825 - 839
Date Published2003/08//
ISBN Number0010-4485
Keywords2.5-D Milling, cutter selection, Geometric Algorithms

This paper describes geometric algorithms for automatically selecting an optimal sequence of cutters for machining a set of 2.5-D parts. In milling operations, cutter size affects the machining time significantly. Meanwhile, if the batch size is small, it is also important to shorten the time spent on loading tools into the tool magazine and establishing z-length compensation values. Therefore, in small-batch manufacturing, if we can select a set of milling tools that will produce good machining time on more than one type of parts, then several unnecessary machine-tool reconfiguration operations can be eliminated. In selecting milling cutters we consider both the tool loading time and the machining time and generate solutions that allow us to minimize the total machining time. In this paper we first present algorithms for finding the area that can be cut by a given cutter. Then we describe a graph search formulation for the tool selection problem. Finally, the optimal sequence of cutters is selected by using Dijkstra's shortest path planning algorithm.