Computer-aided process planning has been recognized
as an important tool for coordinating the different operations
involved in making the product. While temporal knowledge
is central to the design of efficient and reliable process
plans, little attention is given to the integration of
process planning and temporal processing and reasoning.
To fill the void, we propose in this paper a practical
approach, which is inspired by the framework of Temporal
Constraint Satisfaction Problem (TCSP), to integrate process
planning and temporal reasoning. We show that a TCSP formulation
is a subset of a formulation using a reified temporal logic,
and discuss the advantages of using such a restricted model.
To reflect more realistic process planning encountered
in real manufacturing environments, we present a model,
called n-TCSP, which is a generalization of the
TCSP framework. We envision the proposed temporal reasoning
framework as one of the modules in the evolving new intelligent
computer-aided process planning.