Workspace Synthesis for Flexible Fixturing of Stampings

[+] Author and Article Information
Jinkoo Lee, S. Jack Hu, Allen C. Ward

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 121(3), 478-484 (Aug 01, 1999) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2832706 History: Received July 01, 1996; Revised March 01, 1998; Online January 17, 2008


Fixtures are used to position and hold parts for a series of assembly operations. In automotive body assembly, these fixtures conventionally have been dedicated, therefore they must be replaced whenever there are model changes in an auto body assembly plant. In recent years, however, the automotive industry has been changing from high volume to small-to-medium volume production per model with an increasing number of models because customer tastes are diversifying. To cope with this change, auto companies need to be capable of producing a variety of models in small-to-medium volume, and they rely on flexible assembly lines and flexible fixtures. These flexible fixtures use robots as programmable fixture elements so that they can be reprogrammed for different stamped sheet metal parts. When designing flexible fixtures, fixture designers need to be concerned with fixture workspaces for a set of different stampings. However, existing fixture design methods address the fixturing of one stamping only. This paper presents a system that fixture designers can use to synthesize flexible fixture workspaces for a set of different stampings. Based on circular workspaces for flexible fixture robots, this system finds optimal workspace sizes and centers on a fixture base plate with a graphical display for visual checking. This system is simple to use and produces results quickly.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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