In today's competitive manufacturing industries, companies strive to reduce manufacturing development costs and lead times in hopes of reducing costs and capturing more market share from early release of their new or redesigned products. Tooling lead time constraints are some of the more significant challenges facing product development of advanced free-form components. This is especially true for complex designs in which large dies, molds or other large forming tools are required. The lead time for tooling, in general, consists of three main components; material acquisition, tool design and engineering, and tool manufacturing. Lead times for material acquisition and tool manufacture are normally a function of vendor/outsourcing constraints, manufacturing techniques and complexity of tooling being produced. The tool design and engineering component is a function of available manpower, engineering expertise, type of design problem (initial design or redesign of tooling), and complexity of the design problem. To reduce the tool design/engineering lead time, many engineering groups have implemented Computer-Aided Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing (CAD/CAE/CAM or CAx) tools as their standard practice for the design and analysis of their products. Although the predictive capabilities are efficient, using CAx tools to expedite advanced die design is time consuming due to the free-form nature and complexity of the desired part geometry. Design iterations can consume large quantities of time and money, thus driving profit margins down or even being infeasible from a cost and schedule standpoint. Any savings based on a reduction in time are desired so long as quality is not sacrificed. This thesis presents an automated tool design methodology that integrates state-of-the-art numerical surface fitting methods with commercially available CAD/CAE/CAM technologies and optimization software. The intent is to virtually create tooling wherein work-piece geometries have been optimized producing products that capture accurate design intent. Results show a significant reduction in design/engineering tool development time. This is due to the integration and automation of associative tooling surfaces automatically derived from the known final design intent geometry. Because this approach extends commercially available CAx tools, this thesis can be used as a blueprint for any automotive or aerospace tooling need to eliminate significant time and costs from the manufacture of complex free-form components.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





complex free form surfaces, multidisciplinary optimization, generative parametrics, automated tool design, response surface methodology