Research Papers

Robust Fixture Layout Design for a Product Family Assembled in a Multistage Reconfigurable Line

[+] Author and Article Information
L. Eduardo Izquierdo

Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

S. Jack Hu, Hao Du

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2350 Hayward Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Ran Jin, Jianjun Shi

School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 765 Ferst Drive, NW Atlanta, GA 30332

Haeseong Jee

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong-Ik University, 72-1 Sang-Su-Dong, Mapo-Ku, Seoul 121-791, Republic of Korea

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 131(4), 041008 (Jul 13, 2009) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3123320 History: Received September 12, 2006; Revised October 29, 2008; Published July 13, 2009

Reconfigurable assembly systems enable a family of products to be assembled in a single system by adjusting and reconfiguring fixtures according to each product. The sharing of fixtures among different products impacts their robustness to fixture variation due to trade offs in fixture design (to allow the accommodation of the family in the single system) and to frequent reconfigurations. This paper proposes a methodology to achieve robustness of the fixture layout design through an optimal distribution of the locators in a multistation assembly system for a product family. This objective is accomplished by (1) the use of a multistation assembly process model for the product family, and (2) minimizing the combined sensitivity of the products to fixture variation. The optimization considers the feasibility of the locator layout by taking into account the constraints imposed by the different products and the processes (assembly sequence, data scheme, and reconfigurable tools’ workspace). A case study where three products are assembled in four stations is presented. The sensitivity of the optimal layout was benchmarked against the ones obtained using dedicated assembly lines for each product. This comparison demonstrates that the proposed approach does not significantly sacrifice robustness while allowing the assembly of all products in a single reconfigurable line.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

A product family consisting of sedans of small, medium, and large sizes

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Figure 2

Top and side views of the 3-2-1 fixture layout

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Figure 3

Effect of the fixture deviation and reorientation (adapted from Ref. 5)

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Figure 4

Diagram of the multistation assembly process with n stations (adapted from Ref. 2)

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Figure 5

Distance constraint in parts and subassemblies for different products

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Figure 6

Workspace verification

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Figure 7

Assembly sequence of a sedan side frame

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Figure 8

Views of a programmable tool and its workspace

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Figure 9

Location of the PLPs for dedicated lines with the alignment constraint

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Figure 10

Location of the PLPs for dedicated lines without the alignment constraint

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Figure 11

Location of the PLPs for reconfigurable line (note that the distance between the hole and the slot remains the same for each part-type across the three models)



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