Continuity and development 50 years EXAPT-Verein
The paper tape was the symbol from the beginning of the NC technique. It was also put into the cradle of the EXAPT organisation. Later the slogan computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) defined the scene and, in the meantime, one slogan follows to the next slogan ´digital factory´ - ´PLM´ - ´Work Flow´ - ´Lean Management´ … and mirrors the dynamics, with which is tried to rise to the new economic challenges, which specially arise from the rapidly preceding globalization. EXAPT has adjusted to this field of tension and asserts itself as re-search centre and system developer with its differentiated orientation. A positive balance can be drawn to the 40th anniversary. Continuity and competence with a view to the essential have enabled the spin-off company from the university sector to establish firmly in the area of CAD-CAM and offer the potential for a successful future in the partnership with the users and for the users.
On the occasion of the anniversary the most important steps on this successful path of the EXAPT-Verein from the founding idea up to now are sketched here in retrospect.
At the beginning of the 1960s four university institutes - the WZL of the TH Aachen, led by Prof. Opitz, the "Institut für Steuerungstechnik der Werkzeugmaschinen und Fertigungseinrichtungen der TH Stuttgart" led by Prof. Stute, the "Lehrstuhl für produktionstechnische Automatisierung der TU Berlin" led by Prof. Simon and the "Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Fertigungstechnik der TU Berlin" with Prof. Spur at the top - concluded after an investigation of the programming systems offered in the Federal Republic: "The available programming systems do not meet the production requirements of the German industry."
This conclusion was the starting-point for the development of the programming language and the programming system EXAPT, the four university institutes developed in cooperation with the industry. With EXAPT it was possible for the first time to program geometry and technology of different machining processes computer-aided. The result protection when creating NC programs, especially by graphic visualisation, was a part of the system as well as the parameter-controlled generation of NC programs, e.g. for part family variants or the macro technique for the provision of repetitive tasks. The prototype systems EXAPT 1 for drilling and milling processes and EXAPT 2 for turning operations were created in several years' development work in accordance with the American programming language APT.
The development of EXAPT was of great interest for research centres and the national and international indus-try. 19 company representatives met on 22.03.1967 in Frankfurt to found the "Verein zur Förderung des EXAPT-Programmiersystems". The association registered on 23.03.1967 made it its business to take over the research and development results of the EXAPT system after the expiration of the public funding and to put into practice as soon as possible.
The product range was extended permanently and adapted to new basic conditions, which arose especially from the areas NC controls, machine technique, integration requirements because of electronic networking, hard- and software technique, market and organizational processes for users.
The following chronology shows the develop-ment of the EXAPT-Verein from 1967 to 2020:
19 companies get together in Frankfurt for the foundation meeting of the "Verein zur Förderung des EXAPT-Programmiersystems e.V." (EXAPT-Verein). EXAPT provides the system EXAPT 1 for drilling and simple milling processes.
The 1st Annual General Meeting of the EXAPT-Verein which has 56 members at this time, 43 ordi-nary and 13 extraordinary members, takes place in Frankfurt. 40 Companies participate with 60 persons, additionally 6 extraordinary members and 6 guests. Director Stöckmann (executive board of the Pittler AG) is elected as chairman of the executive board of the EXAPT-Verein. Dr. D. Reckziegel is appointed as managing director of the EXAPT-Verein. Frankfurt/Main is the registered office of the EXAPT-Verein. EXAPT opens the first office in Aachen, Josef-von-Görres-Straße.
The "Forschungsvereinigung Programmiersprachen für Fertigungseinrichtungen e.V. (FVP)" is founded. Headquarter of the FVP is Aachen (office EXAPT). Focus of the FVP is the promotion of scientific research and development in programming languages for numerical controlled industrial facilities.
The first international EXAPT meeting takes place in Stuttgart. The development level and the prospects of the NC technique are presented in technical and economical terms. Experiences with the use of the EXAPT systems are compared. The strategy for the consolidation of the EXAPT systems is coordinated. The EXAPT-Verein assigns the research and development work to the FVP.
The industrial application of EXAPT 2 for the programming of NC machines with 2-axial linear control and path control unit starts. In the same year is moved into larger office accommodations in Aachen, Karlshof am Markt.
A further international EXAPT meeting with lectures from the EXAPT work groups, about the re-search at universities and user experiences with EXAPT applications takes place in Frankfurt. The EXAPT-Verein starts the development of the EXAPT modular system. Prof. Rohs (Fa. Böhringer) gets chairman of the executive board of the EXAPT-Verein. Prof. Opitz (TH Aachen) gets a member of the executive board. The first three Japanese companies get members in the EXAPT-Verein.
This year, BASIC-EXAPT is provided for the universal, homogeneous programming of all NC tasks. The support is made by the EXAPT applications consultancy. From the executive board Dr. W. Budde is appointed as managing director of the EXAPT-Verein and the Forschungsvereinigung Programmiersprachen as successor of Dr. Reckziegel.
This year, EXAPT 1.1 is provided for the programming of straight-cut and continuous-path con-trolled drilling and milling machines and machining centres. At the Hanover Fair (IHA 73) the interactive access to a mainframe via time-sharing terminal for the part program entry and correction is presented and starts the replacement of the punch card. The EXAPT standard tool files receive a very positive response in the industry. The card-index administration system MAPEX is executable.
The possibilities for the use of process computers for the NC data transfer are levelled out. As a pioneer EXAPT offers the possibility of the result simulation when using plotters with display of tool paths and tool in assignment to the workpiece. Work groups inspire the exchange of know how with the members from Germany and abroad.
In April the EXAPT-Verein founds the EXAPT NC Systemtechnik GmbH with the aim, to enable the entry into the NC technique for small and medium-sized companies by a complete product and service program. Dr. W. Budde is appointed as managing director. Prof. Opitz gets chairman of the supervisory board of the EXAPT NC Systemtechnik GmbH.
The system portfolio is extended with further system modules and service programs and the provision of postprocessors. Regarding the growing distribution of mini computers EXAPT presents the system BASIC-EXAPT for the use on mini computers, the first step to the replacement of the computer center.
10 years EXAPT-Verein
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the EXAPT-Verein the chairman of the executive board K.-W. Müller sums up: "The experiment EXAPT definitely succeeded". Mr. Müller denominates EXAPT as "self-help-organization of the industry", outgoing from research and development work at universities. A change in the membership structure becomes apparent. Most of the members are users of the system, while in the initial years the suppliers of machine tools, NC controls and EDP equipment predominated. The EXAPT organization moves into new, larger office accommodations with at first 540 square meters in the bus station building, Peterstraße 17.
The development of the EXAPT module system started 1970 are completed. Using modern soft-ware techniques the different system parts BASIC-EXAPT, EXAPT 1, EXAPT 1.1 and EXAPT 2 are composed to a total system, which runs on the new midrange computers. System support and applications consultancy become a new working focus.
The increased use of graphic-interactive terminals accelerates the NC programming with EXAPT. With regard to the task enhancement the constitution of the EXAPT-Verein is changed. With new systems and provisions EXAPT meets the requirements concerning rationalization measures in the construction area and production planning and the company name is adapted to Verein zur Förderung des EXAPT-Systems e. V.
On the 4. EMO in Hanover and the Systems '81 in Munich EXAPT NC Systemtechnik GmbH pre-sents new portable software modules for CAD/CAM applications. CAPEX is a homogeneous system for the solution of different tasks in the conventional and NC production planning. With NESTEX EXAPT presents a universal system for the automatic and graphic-interactive generation of nesting plans. The first version of the EXAPT DNC system and extensions of the EXAPT NC programming sys-tem for the machining of sculptured surfaces are presented.
15 years EXAPT-Verein
Conclusion: The EXAPT organization succeeded to introduce new computer-aided production techniques to small and medium industry companies. Also in Brazil EXAPT is applied now. Working groups exist in Japan, Brazil, Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Great Britain and Germany. The INFOS working group with about 50 members is attached to the EXAPT-Verein.
New EXAPT developments and system extensions on the Systems '83 in Munich: CADEX for the computer-aided product construction based on a product model database for a complete workpiece model description including workpiece technology additionally to the geometry. CADCPL for the transfer and preparation of 2D geometries from different CAD systems with new user interface, comprising of color graphic monitor and tablet.
Adjustment of the EXAPT systems for the use on work stations. This year, the number of members increased "above average" to 196 (plus 48 from the INFOS working group).
1986 is the most successful year in the history of the EXAPT-Verein by then: Up to the annual general meeting 1987 the EXAPT-Verein was expanded by 56 new members (state 16.04.87) and became the largest subject-specific association of companies with altogether 252 members.
20 years EXAPT-Verein
The chairman of the executive board K.-W. Müller sums up: "The escalated number of members indicates the benefits provided by this association and the importance on the international market. Today the members come from more than 16 countries, whereby Japan represents a special focus."
EXAPT expands the software product range by systems for the tool data management (BMO) and production data management (FDO) and participated with own booths in the Hannover Messe In-dustrieautomation, METAV '88 and is also represented at the CEBIT '88 and CAT '88.
In 1988 EXAPT trains more than 1.300 course participants including company-specific courses.
The number of members rises to over 300 companies and institutions. The office space is extended about all floors with 1.600 m² office space in the office building Peterstraße 17 (8 floors including penthouse).
Director K. W. Müller, chairman of the executive board since 15 years, dies. He led the EXAPT executive board in a time of important decisions and great successes (foundation of the EXAPT NC Systemtechnik GmbH, triplication of the number of members, six-fold increase of the business volume). Prof. Dr. Walter Döpper (board of the company Fichtel & Sachs AG) is elected as new chairman of the executive board.
25 years EXAPT-Verein
Prof. Dr. Dr. mult. h. c. Günter Spur (director of the "Produktionstechnischen Zentrums Berlin" and co-founder of the EXAPT-Verein), Dr. Manfred Röhrle (managing directer of the company Mahle AG and member of the executive board of the EXAPT-Verein) and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Maßberg (rector of the TU Bochum and member of the executive board of the FVP, Aachen) appreciate the merits of the EXAPT-Verein concerning the technology transfer and the development and application support for new more modern production techniques. The first version of the completely new product generation EXAPTplus is presented. Therewith EXAPT proceeds to strengthen its technologic leadership position. 10 company reports concerning concrete system applications document the high practical and strategic value of the EXAPT software products for industry companies. The agency in Dresden is opened to actively support the economic development in the NFS with sales and support services on site.
EXAPTplus is presented on PC under Windows NT at the EMO '93. The decentralization of the use of EXAPT systems expands the range of application considerably.
EXAPT-DNC is executable under Windows on customary PC. Special hardware is not needed and so it can be used in compound with the database-supported EXAPT production data management system.
EXAPTplus is extended and also ready for complex application cases as machining of tubes at extrusion tools. EXAPT-CADI provides the transfer of 2D CAD data to EXAPTplus. With the new office Gießen the marketing is strengthened.
The EXAPT systems BMO and FDO for the support of the tool data management and production data management are converted from the 16 bit architecture to the 32 bit architecture under Win-dows NT. As standard database system EXAbase is used. The EXAPT NC editor is developed for the direct processing of NC control data with tool path display and visualization of the tools.
In the course of the market entry of more comfortable 3D CAD systems for the solid modelling of components a detailed evaluation of current systems is made. It is decided to use SolidWorks as reference system for the solid oriented NC planning with EXAPT.
The first solution for the transfer of geometry data between SolidWorks and EXAPTplus is generated. The EXAPT organization systems are also executable under Oracle now. The use of client server solutions supports the data flow in the production. EXAPT presentation on the internet.
To support a workpiece modelling for NC AFR functions are provided in connection with EXAPTsolid. The millennium capability is ensured for all EXAPT systems. AFR is ground-breaking for the integration of third party products. On 18.02.99 Prof. Spur was appointed Honorary Chairman of the EXAPT-Verein. He was co-initiator and founder member of the EXAPT-Verein and belonged to the managing board since the foundation of the association. Under his decisive involvement the EXAPT-Verein and the systems developed by it have earned a fine reputation in the national and international professional circles.
The EXAPT systems start well into the new millennium. The EXAPT systems as intermediary between the worlds, the virtual environment for the product design on the one hand and the real production of the product based on EXAPTsolid on the other hand.
Increasing amounts of data with more complex links from the run-up of the NC planning and re-quirements concerning the optimization of the work flow effect that the information compound of the EXAPT systems has to be created more individual and project-related. Converters are used for the component models in different formats as well as Healer to repair the insufficient component models for the NC planning.
EXAPT-BMG is developed fort he generation and visualization of tools with additional functions for the assembly from components. The acquisition of tools with its geometric and technological presentation offers extensive support of the NC planning with EXAPT systems. An OEM agreement for SolidWorks is concluded.
EXAPTpdo is available to optimize the process chains in production planning and production execution optimally regarding the increasing requirements of changing production conditions.
Manifold system extensions in EXAPTplus, EXAPTsolid, EXAPT NC editor, EXAPTpdo for the complete machining on turning/ milling centres with result reliability because of more extensive simulation based on realNC (Tecnomatix), for the use of new complex tool systems and for the compound use between ERP systems as SAP and intelligent CNC systems. From the executive board Dr. A. Richter is appointed as managing director of the EXAPT-Verein and the Forschungsvereinigung Programmiersprachen as successor of Dr. W. Budde.
EXAPTpdo is extended for the cross-order set-up optimization and provision of manufacturing resources especially for single and small series production with connection to purchase and physical portfolio management.
The EXAPT systems are available in the extended use as information platform for the production, the time management and similar requirements. EXAPTsolid is extended for the feature-oriented milling operation and machine simulation. The NC programming of complex machine tools, e.g. three-turret-turning/milling centres is supported by EXAPT systems, as well as the use of multi-functional tools.
40 years EXAPT-Verein
The ceremonies take place on 09.05.2007 in Aachen in connection with the annual general meet-ing on 10.05.2007. The in-house exhibition takes place at the same time and presents current im-provements of the extensive EXAPT product portfolio, especially the new EXAPT 5.0 with the module for 3-5-axis simultaneous milling machining.
An important milestone in the EXAPT history: The release of the EXAPT version 6.0. Additionally to the new improved EXAPTplus user interface the version 6.0ß also includes many improvements and extensions in all subsystems. The new functions and performance features were presented on the Technical Meeting 2011 of the EXAPT-Verein and received an enthusiastic response from the customers.
We move! After decades in the Peterstr. 17 in Aachen the EXAPT team moves to new, larger office rooms in the Theaterstr. 12 (office building of the AachenMünchener) also in Aachen. For the employees a real highlight and our customers are happy to attend their courses in the new EXAPT training center.
Change of managing director at EXAPT. After 12 years as managing director Dr. Arndt Richter hands down the scepter. With expertise and dedication for his work he kept EXAPT on success course. Dr. Richter leaves the company at the end of March 2016 for his well-deserved retirement. Michael Servos takes over the tasks of management in the EXAPT headquarter in Aachen. The 37 years old mathematician discovered his passion for the automation technology during his job at the Werkzeugmaschinenlabor der RWTH Aachen. For four years he successfully manages the research department of the EXAPT Systemtechnik GmbH and large customer projects. Because of the cross-sectional tasks Mr. Servos has great experience with the internal processes of EXAPT. We are happy that Mr. Servos continues the business of the company successfully.
At the end of 2016 a further important innovation. We have opened the business center Augsburg - under the leadership of Milan Blagojevic. Now we are even closer to our customers in South Germany. It is important to us to reach our customers on short distances. Mr. Blagojevic has the best prerequisites to support your business processes consistently, for the implementation of new ideas, the optimization of present solutions or for already existing projects.
50 years EXAPT. This year is a very important year for EXAPT. We celebrate 50 years EXAPT-Verein. On the occasion of the anniversary on 7. and 8. June 2017 beside the technical meeting of the EXAPT-Verein a big celebration took place with our employees and EXAPT members. On both days further interesting highlights were presented e. g. the "Guided tour through the WZL competence center (EXAPT in the production of the future)" or the "Bazaar of innovations", where the new EXAPT version 6.6 was presented with its new features.
EXAPT version 7.0 offers many new functions. The absolute highlight is "Turning in EXAPTsolid".
We bring together what belongs together. From now on all EXAPT users the possibility of standard turning operations, known from EXAPTplus, seamlessly and without changing applications in EXAPTsolid without changing applications. For this purpose, we have integrated the necessary operations into a special "EXAPTsolid Turning" menu, and have integrated the turning machining window directly into EXAPTsolid. This makes programming work for turned parts with EXAPTsolid even faster. For special turning operations and even more flexibility thanks to
subroutine technology and the high-level programming language, the expert mode in EXAPTplus is of course still available.