Abstract

This paper describes a method for process selection of aluminum components in the early stages of design. Aluminum has many advantages in a variety of applications in its manufacturability and recyclability. Yet, engineers who are trained to design steel components do not take full advantage of this material. The main reason is that engineers tend to be unaware of the many economical processing methods for aluminum. We have developed a program that combines preliminary screening of processes with normalized cost analysis. Design compatibility analysis (DCA) ranks each process based on its feasibility with the basic geometry, material, and production requirements. For top candidates, the program employs external cost routines for detailed comparisons. The primary processes considered are extrusion, sheet forming, forging, die casting, and sand casting. The program extends its compatibility and cost analysis to secondary operations such as bending and machining. The program should be useful for engineer training and as a preliminary design tool. The program uses HyperCard as a front-end, Prolog for logic-based analysis, and Excel for cost calculations.

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