Research • Development • Innovation


Computer Aided Production Planning For Small and Medium Enterprises

Innovative knowledge-based Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) is a key enabler to minimize cost, improve adaptability, responsiveness, robustness, and sustainability of manufacturing processes.

Driven by the paradigm "Shortest Time To Market" the CAPP-SMEs technology supports especially small and medium enterprises that cannot afford expensive production planning systems in the maximization of utilization of their machining assets. The system monitors the actual state of each connected milling machine and starts, if the monitoring system recognizes a full machine replanning cycle based on the availability of other fitting machines. The methodology is built on the event driven function block technology and allows planning and production of machining parameters and programs in one step. To give the user control about the process results an integrated process simulation which shows the generated tool paths and affected mounting elements visualizes the result of this process in a virtual model prior loading the data to the machining controller.


CAPP-4-SMEs provides a Cloud-based infrastructure for adaptive production planning with the following services:

  • Machine Availability Monitoring
  • Adaptive Setup Planning
  • Feature Generation
  • Function Block Technology
  • Remote Tool Path Generation
  • Integrated Process Simulation and Visualization
  • Collaborative Process Planning

The cloud services are designed to fulfill the required privacy and intellectual property protection mechanism. Local repositories defang the meta data of the milling machines their available toolsets and their current stats are connected to public accessible services, which perform the feature and tool path generation, sequencing and simulation of the generated NC-codes. Small and Medium enterprises are the target for these innovative services.


The milling machines get monitored about their current state to recognize which machine is in operation and which machine is available for the planning process. This includes information about the tools mounted in the tool magazine as well as the tool holder elements in use. Furthermore this includes the remaining time period until the next planned job needs to be executed.

Machine Monitoring



CAD files in STEP AP203 notation are the base for the feature extraction. The feature algorithm generates features depending on the available tools, which are transferred to the function block generation. Currently there are 2 1/2 D features supported.

Feature Generation



In the function block generator the recognized features are combined to a function block logic diagram. Additionally the function block holds the milling machine availability, perspective usage times and the information about all the tool and machine meta data. The planning algorithm optimizes the feature sequence along sequencing requirements and maximal performance taking all available machines in account.

Function Block Generation



Starting from the optimized sequencing as output for the best fitting milling machine the tool path generator calculates the tool paths and generates the resulting NC-code for the selected machine controller respective the selected milling machine.

Tool Path Generation



Prior execution of the milling program on the real machine, the user can simulate and visualize the tool paths as virtual model. In the simulation the real time behavior the tool change times, the used tool geometries and the mounted tool holders can be inspected during the simulation display.

Tool Path Simulation



If the simulation was successful out of the scope of the user and has not shown any conflicts like interferences or non-milled areas the NC program gets down loaded to the milling machine controller to be executed.



The Planned Offer

It is intended to offer the established solutions as services, which can be accessed through a web browser based portal. The project is in the current implementation limited to 3D milling machines.


More Information about CAPP-4-SMEs

More detailed information about the CAPP-4-SMEs Project you can get on the project webpage. Just click on the project logo.


CAPP-4-SMEs News

CAPP-4-SMEs successfully participated in the MACH 2014 conference in Birmingham.

Final Review

The CAPP-4-SMEs project was running from December 2012 until November 2015 and had its final review in early 2016. The exceptional results have been carried over to other research projects and business activities.


Project Partner

This project has received funding from The European Union's Seventh Framework Program for research, technological development and demonstration under the grant agreement no 314024