An overall framework to provide a complete tool management solution to an existing or
specified manufacturing system is constructed, and prototype software provided, for a hierarchy
of levels of tool flow automation. The work is targeted at the design and operation of tooling
systems for prismatic parts flexible machining systems ranging from stand-alone unmanned
machining stations to highly automated multi-machine multi-cell configurations.
The research work moves from identification and category definition of a tool flow network
appropriate for the manufacturing requirements, through the careful selection and definition of
operating rules and strategies to the evaluation of the options available for tool issue and
Two main computer aids (design facilities) to provide support in a systems thinking approach to
tool flow management have been developed and tested with the aid of case studies. The
essential role of these design facilities is the timely scheduling of tools to satisfy a short to
medium term manufacturing task, and to examine the cost and number of captive tools under
selected rules and strategies.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University. Volume 2, 'User Interface, Case Studies & Published Papers', has been redacted for reasons relating to the law of copyright. For more information please contact the author.