Journal article Open Access

Optimal layout and reconfiguration of a fixturing system constructed from passive Stewart platforms

Gašpar, Timotej; Kovač, Igor; Ude, Aleš

The distinguishing property of Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS) is that they can rapidly and efficiently adapt to new production requirements, both in terms of their capacity and functionalities. For this type of systems to achieve the desired efficiency, it should be possible to easily and quickly setup and reconfigure all of their components. This includes fixturing jigs that are used to hold workpieces firmly in place to enable a robot to carry out the desired production processes.

In this paper, we formulate a constrained nonlinear optimization problem that must be solved to determine an optimal layout of reconfigurable fixtures for a given set of workpieces. The optimization problem takes into account the kinematic limitations of the fixtures, which are built in shape of Sterwart platforms, and the characteristics of the workpieces that need to be fastened into the fixturing system. Experimental results are presented that demonstrate that the automatically computed fixturing system layouts satisfy different constraints typically imposed in production environments.

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