Automated Fixture Configuration Design
Flexible fixturing is a necessary aspect of flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) and computer-integrated manufacturing systems (CIMS). Modular fixtures are most widely used in industry for job and batch production. Com puter-aided fixture design (CAFD) has become a research focus in imple menting FMS and CIMS. Fixture configuration design is an important issue in the domain of CAFD. A review of the current research in CAFD indicates that a major problem impeding the automated generation of fixture config urations is the lack of studies on fixture structures. This chapter presents an investigation of fundamental structures of dowel-pin-based modular fixtures and fixturing characteristics of commonly used modular-fixture elements. A modular-fixture element assembly relationship graph (MFEARG) is designed to represent combination relationships between fixture elements. Based on MFEARG, algorithms are developed to search all suitable fixturing unit candidates and mount them into appropriate positions on a baseplate with interference checking. A prototype system for automated design of dowelpin modular-fixture configurations is introduced in this chapter. Examples of fixture design are given at the end of the chapter.