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The Next Generation in Assembly Planning
Terri L. Calton
Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center
Sandia National Laboratories*
Albuquerque, NM 87185-1008
At the 1995 IEEE Symposium on Assembly and Task
Planning, Sandia National Laboratories introduced the
Archimedes 2 Software Tool . The system was described
as a second-generation assembly planning system that
allowed preliminary applications of assembly planning for
industry, while solidly supporting further research in
planning techniques. Sandia has worked closely with
industry and academia over the last four years. The results
of these working relationships have bridged a gap for the
next generation in assembly planning. The goal of this
paper is to share Sandia's technological advancements in
assembly planning over the last four years and the impact
these advancements have made on the manufacturing
Manufacturing companies throughout the world are
rapidly changing in order to survive in today's highly
competitive market environments. Some examples of
coping with changing environments are manufacturing
globalization, automated and intelligent manufacturing,
virtual manufacturing, and agile manufacturing. The
objective of this movement in manufacturing is to improve
flexibility, reliability and productivity, and to achieve
competition-based technology development.
Accordingly, the main focus of Sandia's geometric
reasoning research and development program is to provide
intelligent software tools which automate many of the
manufacturing processes that have traditionally been
known to be the most costly, the most time-consuming, and
the most error-prone. Some of these include part-level
assembly planning, fixture planning, grasp planning,
motion planning, tools planning and cost analysis.
Sandia's overall strategy to reduce these costs is to push the
breadth of application and depth of analysis and to find
*Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a
Lockheed Martin company, for the United States Department of Energy under
an appropriate balance between human and machine
planning. Figure 1 helps illustrate this concept. The
ultimate goal is to improve profitability of operations by
developing smart software. The goal of this paper is to
share Sandia's technological advancements in geometric
reasoning capabilities and in assembly planning.
As with the Archimedes 2 system, Archimedes 4.0 can
viewed as a sequence of modules each viewing the product
at a greater level of detail and supplying more detailed
assembly plans and designer feed back than the previous
one; however, Archimedes 4.0 offers greater power and
flexibility than its predecessor. The developers of the
software focused on the limitations of the Archimedes 2
system and the needs of the manufacturing community to
provide better solutions quicker.
Design Part-level Assembly
Manufacturing Tools planning
Constraints Cost estimates
Assembly Shop Floor
Figure 1. Geometric-reasoning for manufacturing
A review of the limitations of the Archimedes 2 system
is discussed in the next section. Following that, an
overview of the Archimedes 4.0 system components is
provided. This overview is used to provide solutions to
Archimedes 2 limitations and to inform the readers of
additional enhancements and features incorporated into the
new system. A brief examination of the issues in lifecycle
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Calton, T.L. Advancing Design-for-Assembly: The Next Generation in Assembly Planning, article, December 9, 1998; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc672724/m1/1/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.