This paper describes a methodology to select and evaluate process chains in the manufacturing of models, prototypes, moulds and tools, considering the following criteria: quality, time and costs and their integration in the company's information flow.
One of the main goals is to confront conventional manufacturing technologies (e.g. NC-milling) to the new, innovative techniques such as rapid prototyping/rapid tooling, high speed cutting or 5-axis milling and to evaluate the different methods on the basis of a given production task.
The presented two-phase approach not only permits the selection and evaluation of the process chains on the basis of a cost-benefit-analysis but also a rough planning of the technology strategy.
An integrated information model to integrate this methodology into the company's data structure was developed, its components are presented in this paper.