This paper presents the design issues and hardware implementation for robot-operated automatic modular and adaptable fixtures. Modular fixtures are workholding devices made from stackable self-contained modular elements. Adaptable fixtures provide surface contact with the workpiece and therefore can adapt to the workpiece geometry. These fixtures are shown to have several advantages over conventional fixtures. Issues in modularity and adaptability for workpiece fixturing are discussed for the purpose of evaluating automatic modular fixtures in flexible manufacturing systems. The basic design requirements for robot-operated modular and adaptable fixturing systems are developed and classified into mechanical and operational. Automatic assembly issues such as the use of special mating surfaces, compact actuators for active modules, as well as the importance of communications between the robot manipulator and the modular fixture are discussed. Hardware design and implementation of a shape memory alloy actuated locking module and a discrete conformable surface module are presented. Performance characteristics such as free-play, stiffness and time response were evaluated experimentally for the locking module. Several workpiece geometries are tested on the comformable surface module.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Computer Science Applications
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering