Dr. Kai Tang received BSE in Mechanical Engineering from his hometown university the Nanjing Institute of Technology (now Southeast University) in 1982 and afterward, as sponsored by the Chinese government, went to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) where he received PhD in Computer Engineering in 1990. From 1991 to 2001, he worked as a software specialist at Schlumberger CAD/CAM (which in 1994 became Applicon and in 1999 became part of Unigraphics). Among his various responsibilities and projects, Dr. Kai Tang was one of the chief architects of the multi-axis NC surface machining software BravoNC; he also led a team that developed an ACIS-based geometric engine for 5-axis tool path computation. In 2000, he also for a short period of one year worked as the chief engineer in a start-up company focusing on voice recognition technology. In June 2001, he “went back” to school and joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), arising from Assistant professor in 2001, Associate professor in 2006, and Full professor in 2011. Dr. Kai Tang’s research interests are broad, but mostly concentrating on developing efficient and practical algorithms in CAD/CAM. Since joining HKUST in 2001, as sole PI he has obtained in total of HK$28 million in research funding from the Hong Kong RGC General Research Fund and Innovative Technology Fund. Aside from his regular professional research and teaching in academia, Dr. Kai Tang is also an avid writer (http://mektang.people.ust.hk/public_files/here_and_there.html).
Five-axis machining refers to machining a part of certain shape by a tool that can have arbitrary orientation and position in space. In this talk, some recent research results by the speaker in freeform surface five-axis machining are presented. Specifically, the following topics will be discussed:
(1) How to decide a setup on the five-axis machine table for a workpiece of complex geometry so that a minimum number of setups are required to machine the entire part, respecting all types of obstacles?
(2) Given the specification of the five-axis machine, how to place the workpiece on the machine’s table so the machining will consume the minimum amount of energy?
(3) How to generate a five-axis tool path that will strive to minimize either the total machining time or the total energy consumption while respecting the given kinematic and dynamic loading constraints of the given five-axis machine?
(4) Variable depth milling of thin-walled workpiece to improve both the machining efficiency and machining accuracy.
(5) Chattering-avoiding and tool-life prolonging milling process of a freeform surface.
In addition, recent major industrial projects in five-axis machining system development by the speaker will also be discussed.