In addition to a range of around 50,000 standard tools, Sandvik Coromant serves the manufacturing industry with engineered and Tailor Made tools, using a CAPP (computer-aided process planning) system for quotations and order processing.
CAPP can be characterized as a part of a design automation system for managing an entire supply chain from quotation all the way to the delivery of the finished product. Johan Hammarlund, manager for rule-based design and design automation at Sandvik Coromant, tells us more.
Johan, please explain what type of products a CAPP system is used for?
“We think in terms of what we call product space – the total range of variation possible for a given product family, encompassing all the possible dimensions, sizes, properties, features, materials and so on. The most typical and affordable products, the ‘standards’, are available off-the-shelf. Engineered tools, also known as specials, are designed case by case for a specific application such as a step drill based on the standard drill. Tailor Made products offer a more closely defined set of options, for example sizes deviating from the standard, while the product otherwise complies with the standard design and has the same performance.”
So in a way CAPP bridges the gap between standards and specials?
“Yes. The system was built in early 1980s to dramatically reduce long lead-times for customized tools. It’s based on a few basic principles, such as specific product spaces and rule-based thinking based on modularization during design and product development.”
How has the system evolved over the years?
“Rather than being only a back-office system, there is now also a web interface and the possibility to automatically generate NC programs. Originally the focus was on holders and tool bodies, while now increasingly inserts and round tools are included.
“In combination with CAD/CAM/CMM automation platforms developed by Sandvik Coromant we can also generate CAD models with complex geometries as well as CAM, NC and CMM programs. More and more digital product information can be included in quotations.”
What are the main benefits of CAPP for the customer?
“The customization level is infinite. There are so many possibilities to get exactly the tool you need, and really quickly. It speeds up the quotation and delivery process enormously. We want to offer the same value for a Tailor Made as for a stocked tool, including product information such as 3D models.”
How do you see the future of CAPP/Tailor Made tools?
“In two years’ time, we will be able to offer full design automation for all Tailor Made products. And if we do it for Tailor Made, we also get the ‘standard’ at the same time because they are also in the same product space.”