Computer-aided production focus of international conference in August

Computers have revolutionized the way companies produce goods, but the technology's rapid development has made it more difficult to define "state-of-the-art." What do you do when the line that separates leading edge production techniques from yesterday's old news is re-drawn daily?

Joe McGeough, regius professor of engineering at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the authorities who helps draw that line. In 1986, he created the International Conference on ComputerPAided Production Engineering (CAPE) to acquaint production engineers with the variety of computer-based technologies available to them. This year the Center for Manufacturing Research at Tennessee Technological University will host the Twelfth International CAPE Conference, August 5-7, 1996, in Cookeville.

Topics covered at the CAPE conference will be in areas of practical interest to people involved in computer-aided production. Scheduled presentations cover such subjects as rapid prototyping, flexible manufacturing systems or cells, management of technology, concurrent engineering, intelligent manufacturing systems and process monitoring, process optimization, integrated CAD/CAM, metal cutting and tool design, and computer-aided design and process planning. Presenters from the United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Switzerland, Germany and the United States submitted 78 papers for the conference.

Co-chairing the event with McGeough is Kenneth R. Currie, a full-time faculty member of the Manufacturing Center and an associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at Tennessee Tech. Currie has worked as an industrial engineer for both ALCOA and Honeywell and is working closely with Saturn Corporation, Textron Aerostructures and Westinghouse through a National Science Foundation grant that focuses on innovation, implementation and cost issues in product development.

"The technical sessions will cover state-of-the-art research that will be the seed for competitive advantage in the future," Currie said.

Keynote speakers for the event include Steve LeClair, Ph.D., of Wright Laboratory, McGeough, and Peter O'Grady, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa. At Monday morning's keynote address, LeClair will discuss an intelligent, feature-based CAD/CAM system for design and manufacture of composite components. McGeough will offer a historical perspective of flexible manufacturing systems and their originator, Theo Williamson, at Monday night's banquet. O'Grady will set the tone for the remainder of the conference at Tuesday's keynote address by outlining current research areas in concurrent engineering and trends for the future.

This is the second time the CAPE conference, which historically meets in Edinburgh, has convened at Tennessee Tech. The Manufacturing Center hosted the seventh CAPE conference five years ago, which McGeough and former Manufacturing Center faculty member V. C. Venkatesh co-chaired. The only other time the conference convened in the United States was for its third session, held at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Registration for the conference is $350, but will increase to $375 after July 15. Students can attend for only $100 ($110 after July 15) if they accompany a fully registered delegate. A social program for guests and spouses of the attendees and plant tours of TRW and Saturn's manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, are scheduled. For more information, contact Ken Currie at (615) 372-3847 or Suzanne Henry, conference coordinator, at (615) 372-3630. You can also inquire electronically using the Manufacturing Center's e-mail address, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Center for Manufacturing Research was created in 1984 to enhance instructional quality in areas related to manufacturing and to help improve the productivity of state industries through its research activities. It is one of three engineering-related Accomplished Centers of Excellence at Tennessee Tech.