DESIGN OF A MECHANICALLY ADAPTABLE LOCATING AND SUPPORTING

SYSTEM FOR AN INTELLIGENT FIXTURE







By

UMESH AVADHUT TOL








A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2003


Copyright 2003

by

Umesh A. Tol




This thesis is dedicated to my father, who is an inspiration for me.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author would like to express his thanks to the members of his supervisory
committee, Dr. Gloria Wiens, Dr. John Schueller, Dr. Tony Schmitz, and Mr. Henry
Gallops, for their contribution and support. Special recognition goes to Dr. Gloria Wiens
who gave the author the opportunity to continue his education in a field of his desire.
Also, the author is deeply thankful for his co-advisors, Dr. Gloria Wiens and Dr. John
Schueller, for their advice and mentoring on this thesis.
This work would not have been possible without the help of Mr. Henry Gallops,
whose invaluable advice helped bring industrial relevance to the project, thus keeping the
author on the right path for completion of the thesis. Thanks are expressed to all the
Space Automation and Manufacturing Mechanisms (SAMM) Laboratory colleagues and
the friends who helped the author accomplish this task especially Kaveh Albekord for his
valuable help in formatting the thesis.
The author is grateful for the research and teaching assistantships provided by the
National Science Foundation (grant no. DMI - 9800806) and the Department of
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, respectively. Last but not least, the author
wishes to express his great gratitude to Dr. Wiens and Mr. Gallops for the curricular
practical training opportunity they made possible for expanding his educational
experience, as well as the financial support of Bear Archery Inc. for this endeavor.
iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................. iv
LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................ vii
LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................................................................... viii
ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... xi
CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1
Fixture Design and Implementation Issues...................................................................2
Facts of Modern Manufacturing Environment ......................................................4
Flexibility and Reconfiguration Techniques .........................................................6
Automation Process...............................................................................................9
Evolution of Fixturing Research.................................................................................10
Literature Review.......................................................................................................13

2 DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND THERORETICAL DEVELOPMENT.......................18
Fixture Design ............................................................................................................18
Technical Design Approach .......................................................................................24
Array of Holes: Size and Spacing .......................................................................25
Part Family Versus Fixture Size..........................................................................27
Part Size: Quantification......................................................................................30
Fixture Configuration: Pin Locations .........................................................................32
Pin Location Algorithm..............................................................................................32
Fixture Foolproofing...................................................................................................38
Fixture Analysis..........................................................................................................39
Kinematics...........................................................................................................39
Force Analysis .....................................................................................................40
Form Closure Analysis........................................................................................42
Deformation Analysis..........................................................................................44
Design Verification/Evaluation...........................................................................45

3 ANALYSIS.................................................................................................................47
Error Analysis.............................................................................................................47
v
4 CLAMPING SYSTEM...............................................................................................64
Selection of Clamping Positions.................................................................................64
Clamping System Ideal Case......................................................................................66
Clamping System.................................................................................................68
Modified Clamp Design ......................................................................................72

5 SUPPORT SYSTEM..................................................................................................78
6 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK.................................................................82
APPENDIX GOLDBERG’S ALGORITHM...................................................................85
LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................89
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................93




vi

LIST OF TABLES
Table page

2.1 Fixture configurations and size of array ..................................................................25
3.1 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade A)....................................................................54
3.2 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade A)....................................................................55
3.3 Locating pin X positioning errors (Grade A) ...........................................................56
3.4 Locating pin Y positioning errors (Grade A) ...........................................................56
3.5 Error quantification. .................................................................................................57
3.6 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade B) ....................................................................61
3.7 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade B) ....................................................................61
3.8 Locating pin X positional errors (Grade B) .............................................................62
3.9 Locating pin Y positional errors (Grade B) ............................................................63



vii

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure page

1.1 Production planning ...................................................................................................2
1.2 Fixture design process................................................................................................3
1.3 Fixturing problem description....................................................................................5
1.4 Flexible fixturing techniques......................................................................................7
1.5 Modular fixture with an array of holes.......................................................................8
1.6 Modular fixture with ‘T’ slotted bed..........................................................................8
1.7 Modular fixture tool kit ..............................................................................................9
1.8 Flexible clamp design...............................................................................................11
1.9 Fluidized bed fixturing.............................................................................................12
1.10 Bed of nails...............................................................................................................13
2.1 IFS control scenario .................................................................................................21
2.2 Comparison of the flexible fixtures..........................................................................22
2.3 The new design.........................................................................................................24
2.4 Part A –Wallack’s configurations ............................................................................26
2.5 Fixture operation ......................................................................................................28
2.6 The fixture configurations........................................................................................29
2.7 Quantification of maximum part size.......................................................................31
2.8 Algorithm- mathematical concept ............................................................................33
2.9 Algorithm- possible position of second pin .............................................................34
2.10 Modified algorithm..................................................................................................35
viii
2.11 Swept area ................................................................................................................36
2.12 Algorithm.................................................................................................................37
2.13 Fixture foolproofing .................................................................................................39
2.14 Force closure ............................................................................................................41
2.15 The 3-2-1 locating principle.....................................................................................43
2.16 Fixture configuration................................................................................................44
2.17 Locating pin..............................................................................................................46
3.1 Coordinate frame......................................................................................................48
3.2 Rotational errors.......................................................................................................49
3.3 Squareness error .......................................................................................................55
3.4 Fixture configuration for error analysis....................................................................57
3.5 Mechanical errors.....................................................................................................58
3.6 Case 2: combined mechanical errors affecting orientation ......................................60
4.1 Flexible clamp..........................................................................................................69
4.2 IFS clamping control concept ..................................................................................70
4.3 Locating pins and clamp, fixturing configuration....................................................71
4.4 Fixture configuration................................................................................................71
4.5 Modified clamp design-original position .................................................................73
4.6 Modified clamp-used as locator ..............................................................................74
4.7 Modified clamp-clamp in action ............................................................................76
5.1 Support position analysis .........................................................................................79
A-1 Workpiece orientation. .............................................................................................85
A-2 Position of first locating pin.....................................................................................86
A-3 Possible location of second pin ................................................................................87
A-4 Circle method to find the possible location of second pin .......................................87
ix
A-5 Elimination of possible position...............................................................................87


x

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
DESIGN OF A MECHANICALLY ADAPTABLE LOCATING AND SUPPORTING
SYSTEM FOR AN INTELLIGENT FIXTURE

By
Umesh Avadhut Tol
December, 2003
Chair: Gloria Wiens
Co-chair: John Schueller
Major Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
The growing expectation of today’s customers to having manufacturers
responding immediately to their demands for product variety and mass customization has
made it essential for the implementation of modern manufacturing strategies and
technology. A catalyst of this expectation may be the recent advances achieved in
Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) by major industrial research and development
groups and academic researchers. While the manufacturing industry desperately needs to
produce a variety of different products with short lead-time, it is still facing the
importunate lack of flexibility in work holding/fixturing. The key enabling attributes of
intelligent fixturing such as reconfigurability, flexibility, and automation are very
important to educe the complete advantages that the modern manufacturing environment
promises.
xi
The motivation of the research presented in this thesis addresses the need for
technological advancements that enable the realization of intelligent fixturing systems.
The objective of this research is to enhance the mechanical adaptability of fixturing
system design such that the key characteristics of Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS) can
be attained. To achieve these objectives a combination of techniques, in particular the
array of holes and bench vise, have been integrated into a new mechanically adaptable
design. To determine suitable locations for the locating pins, the Goldberg algorithm has
been extended for configuring the new fixture design effectively. A small prototype has
been built to further demonstrate the design concept and the range of part shape and size
complexity that can be accommodated. The resulting algorithm has been implemented
using various parts of different sizes and shapes to show the adaptability and flexibility of
the fixture in achieving complete form closure. The mechanically adaptable design was
also evaluated in terms of the propagation of fixture errors and their effects on the part
location accuracy. A conceptual algorithm for the fixture support system was developed
to minimize the workpiece deformation during machining process under the action of
clamping and cutting.
For the completeness of fixturing, this thesis briefly discusses the clamping
system. A conceptual design of a multipurpose pin capable of locating, clamping and/or
supporting has been developed for horizontal and vertical clamping, thus completing the
development of an innovative fixture design that enhances mechanical adaptability. In
summary, the design has the necessary features that will enable the realization of
fixturing system in manufacturing.
xii

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The growing expectations of today’s customers to having manufacturers respond
immediately to their demands for product variety and mass customization has made the
implementation of modern manufacturing strategies and technology essential. The
catalyst for this expectation may be the recent advancements achieved by major industrial
research and development groups and academic researchers. Flexible Manufacturing
Systems (FMS) are designed with the impetus of producing a variety of different
products with short lead-time. Even after achieving major breakthroughs in FMS research
and development, researchers and engineers have not been able to attain ‘complete’
flexibility in the manufacturing environment. Figure 1.1 depicts the complexity in
product planning where the set up, fixture, and fixture configuration planning are found
to be significant tasks. These tasks are dependent upon the part geometry and the
manufacturing process in which the fixturing limitations may dictate a need for change in
product design and/or process planning (represented by dashed arrows). Hence, one of
the biggest challenges for product quality and production efficiency in both traditional
and modern manufacturing environments has been the proper design of tooling and work
holding (fixturing) systems. The fundamental knowledge in the design of fixtures is still
considered quite limited, tends to be product and machine specific, and relies heavily on
the experience or use of trial-and-error methods. Therefore, the motivation for the
research presented in this thesis addresses the need for technological advancements that
enable the realization of intelligent fixturing systems. The remainder of this chapter
1
2
defines the fixturing design process and implementation issues, and provides an overview
of the state of the art in flexible fixturing and Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS).
Product Design
(CAD)
text
Geometric
Representation
Process Planning
(CAPP)
Production System
NC programming
CAM \ MRP
Fixture Assembly
Element List
Robotic Assembly
text
Set Up Planning
y Operation Sequence
y Workpiece Orientation
Fixture Planning
y Locating Surfaces/Points
y Clamping Surfaces/points
y Supporting Surfaces/Points
Fixture Configuration
y Fixture Element Selection
y Position and Orientation
Determination

Figure 1.1 Production planning (Bi and Zhang, 2001)
Fixture Design and Implementation Issues
In today’s manufacturing environment, fixturing is considered a specialized
tooling commonly referred to as a “dedicated fixture.” The basic steps involved in the
fixture design are shown in the figure 1.2. The important issues with dedicated fixtures
are as follows.
Time and cost. As can be inferred from figure 1.3, the time and cost involved in
the development is large and may vary from a few days to months. The development time
can be a critical factor in the determination of the time-to-market for launching a new

3
product. Cost of tooling alone is as much as 20-30% of total production cost
(Shirinzadeh, 1996).
Fixturing Feature Analysis
..primary locating direction
..locating method and clamping type
..locating/clamping surface candidate
Fixturing Surface Accessibility Analysis
..surface accessibility
..accessibility of the points on the surface
Fixturing Accuracy Analysis
..feature accuracy
..inter-fixture accuracy relationship
Geometric Constraint Analysis
..surface grouping
..locating/clamping surface candidate
Vertical Locating/Clamping Planning
..virtual vertical locating surface formation
..possible locating point sampling
.. fixturing stability verification
..vertical clamping point determination
Horizontal Locating/Clamping Planning
..candidate locating surface grouping
..surface segment formation in a cross section
..locating point determination
..clamping point determination
Integration with Fixture Configuration Design
..documentation
..interface to fixture configuration design
..result validation

Figure 1.2 Fixture design process
Inflexible. The dedicated fixtures are highly inflexible. Made for a particular part,
they become obsolete due to any small change in the part design including even changes
in the level of tolerances.

4
Set up change over time. The time required to remove the current fixture from
the machine bed/pallet, to make necessary changes in machine setting if required, and to
place a new fixture on the pallet adds to the lead time and decreases productivity. This
time varies from a few hours to days depending on the complexity of the fixture.
Setting time. The time required to set up a fixture on a machine, varies from
machine to machine, and depends on the complexity of the fixture. The setting time is a
non-productive time and increases the total cost of the product. Once the fixture is set, a
few parts are generally produced as a trial and then checked for quality.
Skilled labor to design and manufacture. Precision is required in fixture
manufacturing. The rule of thumb says that a fixture should be produced within 1/10th of
the final part requirements. Thus skilled and experienced labor is typically needed for
operating high precision machines and instruments, and for validating the quality of parts.
In all, it involves many skilled man-hours and precision machine-hours which in turn
leads to high cost of production (Bi and Zhang, 2001).
Inventory and maintenance. As the variety of parts produced within a
manufacturing facility increases, the number of dedicated fixture grows. This requires a
large amount of space for storage and greater manpower and costs. It also involves
greater maintenance cost.
Facts of Modern Manufacturing Environment
A logical solution to the above issues would be to minimize set up time to
produce maximum quantity of products for each given setting. This reduces the cost per
part. Generally, the batch size calculation decides the quantity produced in one setting.
The competitive market and instability in business have driven larger industries to out
source much of the small jobs that typically involve many set up changes due to small

5
Problem Description of a Fixture Configuration Design
Description of workpiece and
its machining process
Description of a flexible
fixture
Design restrictions
Design parameters and
variables
Design objectives
Fixture Analysis
Construction Models
y Form closure
y Accessibility/detachability
y Deformation
Evaluation Models
y Stability
y Equilibrium
y Dynamic behavior
y Dexterity
Fixture Synthesis
y Decomposition of the synthesis process
y Determination of initial variables
y Verification of candidates
y Search strategies
y Calculation reduction
y Output of optimal solution
Fixture Verification
y Form closure
y Accessibility/detachability
y Deformation
Total design process/
time

Figure 1.3 Fixturing problem description
batch sizes and part variability. It means larger industries have shifted (not eliminated)
many of their fixturing needs to small scale and medium scale industries. Hence, the
more logical solution is to design a flexible system with greater mechanical adaptability
to accommodate a larger variety of parts. Today’s manufacturing industry uses a number
of Computerized Numerically Controlled (CNC) and Direct Numerical Control (DNC)
machines and FMS towards achieving flexibility in production while minimizing human
intervention and maintaining accuracy and repeatability in the product line. Designed to
perform single and small batch operations, CNC and FMS also include automatic tool

6
changers, automatic offset checking mechanisms and automated guided vehicles to load
and unload the parts that facilitate quick change over in set up and process steps.
Despite all these autonomous machines, the bottleneck in a truly flexible
manufacturing system is the inability of dedicated fixtures to change set up quickly and
automatically. Furthermore, there is lead time and effort associated with the design and
manufacturing of special purpose and dedicated fixturing. The lead time for the manual
design of a machining fixture can be as long as two to three weeks, which is not
acceptable.
Flexibility and Reconfiguration Techniques
Therefore, if FMS are to be truly flexible, fixturing must also be flexible. In order
to replace or reduce the requirement for fixtures, recent research efforts have been
directed towards developing alternative approaches to traditional fixturing to add
flexibility in the fixturing. These range from use of an array of holes, flexible clamping
systems to fluidized bed fixturing. The advantages of employing such devices are listed
as follows.
1. Reduction in the lead time and effort required to design dedicated fixtures.
2. Reduction in cost(s) associated with manufacturing of dedicated fixtures.
3. Reduction in the cost associated with storing a multiplicity of dedicated jigs and
fixtures by reducing the number of different fixtures needed.
4. Increased planning and programming capabilities to accommodate part variability.
5. Flexibility in production planning.
Figure 1.4 (Shirinzadeh, 1996) lists the overall techniques used to achieve
flexibility in fixturing. Innovative concepts like an array of holes and fixtures having an
array of pins were designed so as to accommodate different parts. According to the shape

7
Flexible Fixturing
Strategies
Sensory
Based
Fixturing
Modular and
Reconfigurable
Fixtures
Programmable
Clamps
Adaptable
Clamps
Phase -Change
Fixtures
Other Fixture
Concepts
Visual
Callibration
CAD/CAM
Database
Servo
Mechanism
Memory
Metal
Bi-Phase
Material
Modular
Fixture
Kit
Reconfigurable
Fixtures
Pseudo Phase
change Material
Authentic Phase
Change Material
Manually
Assembled
Automatically
Assembled
Robotic
System
Mechatronic
System
Particulate
Fluidized Bed
Low Melting
Point Alloy
Active
Polymers
Electrically
Induced
Thermally
Induced

Figure 1.4 Flexible fixturing techniques (Shirinzadeh, 1996)
of the workpiece and cutting dynamics only required pins are manually placed to form a
locating system. The clamp position is adjusted so as to make sure that workpiece will
not move during machining. Keeping basic parts the same and rearranging the elements,
the fixture is reconfigured, saving the cost of a new fixture. This concept was given the
name reconfigurable/ modular fixturing. The modular fixturing system is assembled
using different types of “Meccano like” components on the standard base plate for proper
positioning and fixturing of the workpiece on the machine tool. It is cost and time
efficient, particularly for small to medium batch production because it can be assembled,
disassembled, and reassembled for a variety of workpieces. Figure 1.5 shows the example
of modular fixturing using an array of holes (Yuasa Modular Flex System, USA).
Figure 1.6 shows “T” slots used to add flexibility in modular fixtures. In this
system clamps and “Tennons” can be moved anywhere in these slots to create a new
fixture (Eiwin Modular Fixture System).

8

Figure 1.5 Modular fixture with an array of holes (Bi and Zhang, 2001)

Figure 1.6 Modular fixture with ‘T’ slotted bed (Bi and Zhang, 2001)
Shirinzadeh (1996) came up with the new concept called “Tool Kit”. The kit consists of
standard elements like v block, locators, and clamps. These standard parts are used to
configure a fixture. Figure 1.7 shows a standard commercially available modular
fixturing tool kit. Research has been carried out to optimize the number of components in
the kit and maximize the number of possible fixtures out of it. Although modular/
reconfigurable fixtures are widely accepted in the industry they have some basic
problems like high initial cost and skilled labor requirements. Shen and Shirinzadeh
(1996) and Bi and Zhang (2001) worked on flexible clamping/location systems. Figure
1.8 shows clamp designs of such a system. These

9

http://www.walkermagnet.com/mag/clamping/grinding

Figure 1.7 Modular fixture tool kit (Shirinzadeh, 1996)
clamps work on a rack and pinion mechanism. The height of the clamp can be adjusted
and similarly the leverage point can be adjusted to obtain a different mechanical
advantage. Thus, flexibility can be achieved in clamping the parts of different size and
shapes.
Hazen and Wright (1990) came up with an innovative fluidized bed. Figure 1.9
shows the basic concept and steps involved in this type of Fixturing. The fluid is
solidified to hold the part during the machining. Then due to the fluid’s lower melting
point, the part can be easily removed after machining by bringing the fluid back to its
liquid state. Since the fluid can take any shape, the part can be oriented in any direction.
Thus flexible locating/clamping systems were designed to accommodate the small
variations in the part dimensions. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems and different
mechanical systems, methods such as spring-loaded clamps, eccentric locators, and rack
pinion type mechanisms, were used to add flexibility to fixtures.
Automation Process
After working on the flexibility issue, the next immediate target was the
automation of this process. The automated design of advanced fixtures requires a
thorough understanding of mechanical principles, multiple functional work holding

10
requirements, and applications of advanced electro-mechanical technologies. This
requires a complete knowledge of the geometry of the part and the accessible surfaces for
clamping and locating. Automation of modular fixturing (assembly, clamping, and
locating systems) reduces human intervention while making the system more accurate
and fast.
Based on basic laws of fixturing and heuristics, semi automatic, and fully
automatic computerized fixture designs were developed. In case of a semi automatic
system, the user’s input is required in deciding the clamping position and location points.
The fully automatic designs complete the fixture without human intervention. Design of
the support position to avoid the deflection of workpiece due to its self weight and cutting
forces was also partly automated. This was interfaced with the FEA software like I-
DEAS. Once the workpiece model, support points, and cutting forces are fed to the
system, the FEA analysis detects the point of maximum deflection. The supporting pins
are moved so as to reduce the maximum deflection. The basic idea behind this algorithm
is to provide the supporting pads right below the point of maximum deflection.
Evolution of Fixturing Research
Different approaches have been used to design a flexible location system. An
array of pins was a concept researcher Szuba et al., (2001) tried to exploit. The pins were
activated either hydraulically or pneumatically. When a part is placed on the “bed of
nails” these pins are activated, shooting up to touch the part (figure 1.10). Sensors on the
pins detect the part surface and create a CAD model of the workpiece which is then fed
back to the controller. Thus, the orientation of the workpiece is decided on the machine
table. But a major drawback of the system is that it is too costly for small / medium scale
industry.

11

Figure 1.8 Flexible clamp design (Bi and Zhang, 2001)

12



Figure 1.9 Fluidized bed fixturing (Hazen and Wright, 1990)

13

Figure 1.10 Bed of nails (Bi and Zhang, 2001)
Literature Review
Traditionally, fixturing was considered to be a form of specialized tooling. It used
to be designed for a particular workpiece. But increasing intensive global competition in
manufacturing and the changing consumer demand resulted in a change in management
focus towards product variety, shorter product life cycle, lower per unit cost, higher
product quality and most importantly short lead time. An obvious outcome of this trend is
“market pull” and “technological push” which are forcing today’s industry towards
achieving the complete flexibility and automation on all fronts of manufacturing.
Earlier successful efforts were made in process automation. Computerized numerically
controlled machines were developed followed by machining centers with five and six
degrees of freedom. Automation reached a peak when FMS and FMC’s (flexible
manufacturing cells) were developed. In spite of all these advances fixturing was still
addressed with the same traditional approach.
Researchers realized the need for flexibility in fixturing. A growing trend towards
product variety and frequent changes in product design made the traditional fixturing
approaches restrictive. Conscious efforts were made to achieve flexibility in fixturing and

14
to accommodate more parts on the same fixture. The innovative concept of an array of
holes or pins to locate the part was used (Sebastien et. al, 1998). More flexibility was
added by mounting the array of pins on movable jaws (Wallack and Canny, 1996).
Further research carried out in this area addressed many issues like optimization of the
number and size of pins. Computerized algorithms were developed to locate the
workpiece using an array of pins (Hurtado and Melkote, 2002). Basically, researchers got
the idea of flexible fixtures from robotic grippers. Sudsang et al., (1998) developed a
flexible gripper which consisted of two parallel plates where as the upper plate had an
array of pins. Activating only the required pins workpiece was grabbed and oriented.
Sudsang et al., (1998) also presented the simple and efficient mechanism to grasp and
orient the workpiece. Other research being carried out is on optimizing the clamping
force so as to avoid the distortion of the workpiece due to improper clamping. Mishra
(1995) studied the grasping mechanics in detail. He studied relations and trade off among
effectiveness of grasp, geometry of object to be grasped, number of figures needed, and
complexity of computation for the grasp synthesis algorithm.
The new concept of a modular fixturing immerged to achieve the flexibility
(Kakish et al., 2000). The basic principle was to accommodate a number of parts on the
same fixture. Efforts were made to optimize the number of parts in the tool kit and
maximize the number of parts that can be accommodated on same fixture, i.e. maximize
the possible feasible combinations of the fixture (Wallack, 1996). Other efforts were
made to achieve automation providing computerized solution (Wallack and Canny, 1996)
of the fixturing problems for reducing the design and development time of fixtures (Wu.
et al., 1998 and Yu and Goldberg, 1998). Research has been carried out to make the

15
assembly process automated thus avoiding the chances of error because of human
intervention and reducing the lead-time (Lim et al., 1989, Gusti et. al., 1994, and Ngoi et
al., 1997). Researchers worked on adding intelligence in modular fixturing. They
introduced a real time system which measures and monitors the reaction force on the
locators (Tao and Kumar, 1997). Penev and Aristides (1999) discussed core issues like
foolproofing. Roy and Liao (1998) described a rational approach based on the use of both
qualitative and quantitative reasoning tools to plan for the best supporting, locating, and
clamping positions to hold the workpiece rigidly and accurately during the machining
process. These efforts of automating the modularity of fixturing were highly appreciated
by the industry (Bi and Zhang, 2001). Different approaches were adopted and proposed
to achieve the flexibility in modular fixturing and automating the process. Using these
solutions, companies came up with commercial products with an array of T slots, dowels,
or tapped holes. However, some professionals found that the problems in the modular
fixturing, such as some parts/geometries, cannot be accommodated using modular fixture
(Zhuang and Goldberg, 1996). They discussed the inherent problems with the system and
suggested the need for a new system. Important issues like design feasibility of modular
fixtures due to variation in the dimension of parts and due to variation in tolerances and
redesign were discussed in reference (Zhuang and Goldberg, 1996).
Efforts were made to achieve the solution to this problem by proposing a flexible
fixturing system. The intention behind this was to accommodate small variations in
fixturing conditions. Using the sensors for automatically measuring the position of
clamping surfaces and vice opening, automation in the clamping and fast process was
experimented (Lu et al., 1997). Further, a hydraulic positioning mechanism was proposed

16
(Karl et al., 1994). Hong Du et al., (1998) discussed a three-fingered automated flexible
fixturing system for planar objects, which consisted of a fixturing algorithm with two
CNC modules and an auxiliary mechanism. It was based on using a minimum number of
pins to immobilize the part. It offered flexibility to accommodate objects of different
shapes. They have shown that the system is flexible, reconfigurable, automatic, and
capable of fixturing planar objects of different shapes and sizes in the machining process.
A formalized study has been carried in planning strategy and implementation of flexible
fixturing in CIM environment (Shirinzadeh, 1996). A new technique of automated design
and fabrication of fixture gripper tooling for mechanical assembly was invented by
Velasco et al., (1997).This technique utilizes geometric computations on CAD, part
descriptions to derive form and force closure tooling, and uses prototyping technology to
fabricate the computed tooling directly from the derived CAD description. Dynamic
analysis of reconfigurable fixtures and different mechanisms to add flexibility and
automation were proposed (Shen and Shirinzadeh, 2001), but all these systems still had
the basic problem of limited flexibility.
Despite the advances in fixturing, a persistent problem is the Limited Flexibility.
The above techniques can be used for a group of parts but the main constraint is to know
the details about its geometry before hand. In order to counter this problem, research
thrusts have recently shifted towards the development of the next generation of complete
flexible automated fixturing, known as Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS). The IFS
characteristic differences from automated/robotic fixturing systems and/or
modular/reconfigurable fixturing systems are:
• Emphasis on the fixturing process control during machining, assembly, or other
manufacturing operation

17
• Real time adaptive clamping forces so as to minimize part deformation, etc.
• Adaptive to disturbances
• Provides feedback information to IFS controller
The objective of this research is to enhance the mechanical adaptability of fixturing
system design such that the key characteristics of an intelligent fixturing system can be
attained. The remainder of this thesis will present the approach proposed in achieving this
objective. In chapter 2, the design of fixture and the algorithm to achieve the fixture
configuration is discussed. The error analysis and its effect on the orientation of
workpiece are presented in chapter 3. Chapters 4 and 5 presents the conceptual clamp and
support design. The last chapter is dedicated to discussion of the future work and the
conclusion.


CHAPTER 2
DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND THERORETICAL DEVELOPMENT
This chapter discusses the design of the flexible locating system and the algorithm
developed to obtain the fixture configuration. The adaptability of the fixturing system is
demonstrated in the successive sections using the configuration algorithm on different
parts of various sizes and shapes. The concept of fixture foolproofing is discussed and the
capability of the designed system to accommodate such a feature is depicted. Finally, the
fixture configuration is analyzed for form closure to validate the designed configuration.
Fixture Design
The fundamental design principles remain the same irrespective of the type of
fixture. Whether it is a traditional dedicated fixture or a completely flexible
reconfigurable fixture, it has to satisfy the following general design principles.
• 3-2-1 locating principle.
• Supporting pins should be as far apart as possible.
• Supporting pads should be located such that clamping forces are in opposite
direction(s).
• The faces (surfaces) requiring machining cannot be used for location purpose.
• There should be a suitable and sufficient area to place the locating and clamping
devices. A flat surface is considered to be better.
• The locating and clamping devices are not allowed to interfere with the cutting tool
or process.
• The three locating faces must be orthogonal to each other.
The flexibility design has different issues in keeping all the above principles intact. Since
a flexible fixture design is inherently reconfigurable, one must go through a fixture
18
19
analysis each time its configuration changes for fixturing a new part. The fixture analysis
addresses the following issues:
• Fixturing surface accessibility: geometry of fixturing surface and workpiece
geometry obstruction(s).
• Must arrest all degrees-of-freedom of part: Workpiece stability.
• Determination of optimal fixture configuration: Locators and clamping forces.
• Sensitivity to force and position variations: Tolerances.
• Limited sensing and/or actuation.
• Performance evaluation and validation.
The above general design principles and fixture analysis issues together provide a
governing basis for the research presented in this thesis. The main thrust of the research is
to develop a new flexible fixture design that not only accurately locates parts but is
capable of compensating for process induced holding variables. The resulting multi-use,
reconfigurable and adaptive features of such a flexible fixturing system provide an
enabling approach for acquiring a true IFS.
Figure 2.1 shows an IFS control scenario for the new fixture design. In the pre-
staging of fixture configuration controller block, the prior knowledge of the process plan
and the fixture configuration provides necessary information for optimizing the
controller’s desired fixture configuration (desired pin and clamp locations, and clamping
forces). The underlying fixture control is achieved using simple decoupled feedback
controllers for pin positions and clamping forces (inner feedback loops). However, during
the cutting process sometimes the workpiece loses contact with the locating pins. This is
not desirable since it can change the orientation of workpiece during the machining
process hampering the accuracy of the operation. Based on the force and position

20
feedback and the dual workpiece deformation compensator algorithms, the pin and clamp
positioning controller makes corrections in the fixture configuration. Via the IFS hybrid
controller, these corrections in position are augmented and the clamping force is modified
to maintain locating pin and workpiece contacts as well as location accuracy. Based on
the requirements of the process plan and operating conditions, the controller may activate
additional supports to insure the contacts and minimal part distortion or may send signals
to operator or machine controller to change the process parameter. If the workpiece
shows excessive deformation then the finite element analysis (FEA) model based
algorithms are used to update clamping forces and/or pin locations. In some cases the
response of the two controllers can be conflicting. To take care of such cases, the output
of the positioning controller and clamping force controller is fed to an IFS hybrid
controller to resolve the conflicts.
To realize this IFS control scenario, the mechanical design of the fixture must be
developed. In this thesis, a new design is developed that uniquely integrates various
techniques into a new system approach. The IFS design of this finds its roots in the work
done by Du et al., (1994) and Wallack et al., (1996) see figure 2.2. Wallack proposed a
modular fixture with one degree of freedom using the principle of a bench vise where the
research mainly focused on the generation of an automated algorithm for fixturing. Du
added more flexibility to the system by achieving (X,Y) movement for each locating pin,
positioned via a rotary actuator and the third locating pin positioned in a slot on a moving
jaw ( refer to figure 2.2). Using two pins with their (X,Y) position determined with a
rotary inputs combined with 2 DOF pin positioned via a linear slot on a moving jaw,
Du’s design allows planar variability in the part location. However, it is limited by its.




text
Process Plan
y Mfg. operation
y Operation
Sequence
y Process model
and parameters
Optimal Fixture
Configuration
Fixture
Configuration
y Locating pins
y Clamps
y Support pins
Pin and Clamp
Position
Controller ( X,Y)
Clamping Force
(x,y,z)
Controller
IFS Hybrid
Control
Fixture Configuration
and Workpiece
Workpiece Deformation Compensator for
Clamping Force Control
y FEA model based
y Operating parameters
Workpiece Deformation Compensator
for Pin and Clamp Position Control
y Fixture Configuration Kinematics
y FEA model based

delta locations
Desired pin
and clamp
location
Desired
clamping
forces
delta locations
Actual pin
and clamp
locations
Actual
clamping
force
delta clamping force
Pre-Staging of Fixture
Configuration
2
1


Figure 2.1 IFS control scenario


22


Locating pin
Module 2
Workpiece
Movable Module 1
Third pin

a) Du (1994) three finger system


b)Wallack (1996) vise fixture c)New flexible fixture approach
Fixed
plate
Movable jaw Top plate
Array of
holes
Array of
hole
Intermediate
plate Fixed jaw
Base plate
Figure 2.2 Comparison of the flexible fixtures
range of part geometry variation and inability to achieve ‘form closure’ necessary for
arresting all degrees of freedom (i.e. fixture requires a minimal of four pins). New
flexible fixture approach of this thesis is shown in figure 2.2 (c) which has two degree of
freedom for the locating pins on the top moving plate. Thus it has more flexibility is
adapting parts of different size and shape. The design uses three locating pins and a
clamp.

23
The main area of improvement seen from Wallack et al.,’s (1996) research is the
addition of greater flexibility in the system. Wallack introduced an array of holes on the
bench vise with one degree of freedom. Later on, he proposed three and four jaw vises to
add more flexibility. The core issue is to make each locating pin movable/changeable so
that it can move in all possible directions accurately. Note, a rule of thumb in fixture
design is that it should have 1/10 of the workpiece tolerance on the fixture which makes
accuracy a critical issue. Evolving from Du’s design, the work in this thesis attempts to
eliminate mechanical adaptability limitations. That is, the new system provides two
decoupled degrees of freedom for each pin, yielding greater range of part geometry and
ability to achieve form closure. In addition, the following key mechanical features are
integrated into the design.
th
• Array of pins/holes.
• Sliding mechanism, guideways system for linear displacement of array of
pins/holes in two directions.
• Modularity.
To achieve full automation and intelligence capabilities the FFS should possess the
following characteristics:
• Many degrees of freedom to accommodate a range of family of parts.
• Automated determination of optimal fixture configuration.
• Automated reconfiguration of fixture configuration by adjusting internal variables
or assembling modules.
• Automatic loading of the workpiece into the fixture.
• Monitoring of fixturing process and dynamic adjustment of configuration for
achieving the best manufacturing performance.
• Automatic unloading and resetting of the fixturing system.

24
In an attempt to add complete flexibility and accuracy to the fixture, the technical
approach to the problem will now be discussed.
Technical Design Approach
The first FFS design considered consists of a base plate which has an array of
holes. Referring to figure 2.3 there are intermediate plates which have movement in the
‘X’ direction on top of the base plate. These plates have an array of hole as the base plate.
On each of these plates, (1a, 1b) and (2a, 2b) there are two top plates that move in ‘Y’
direction.

Base Plate
Top Plates
X
Y
Intermediate
Plate
1a
1b
2b
2b

Figure 2.3 The new design
For a given set of plate positions, the center-to-center distance between the holes
and the size of holes is a deciding factor in flexibility (i.e., ability to accommodate
different size and shape of parts). As the center-to-center distance between the holes and
the size of holes is reduced, the number of possible feasible fixturing combinations
increases, i.e. finer resolution of pin locations. However, this need for finer resolution is
redundant due the movable plates are added to the FFS as well as adds considerable cost
and complexity. Hence, this first design was simplified by keeping the 4 by 4 array of

25
pins in the top plate eliminating those in the intermediate plate. The base plate array of
holes was kept to provide supporting pins as well as for providing clamping options
(figure 2.3). Before going into greater specifics of this revised design, the size and
spacing issues of the array of holes is first discussed.
Array of Holes: Size and Spacing
The most flexible system will be one having an array of ‘T’ slots instead of the
array of holes. In that case the locating pin can be positioned any where in the slots.
However, an array of slots would be required in place of each row of pins. Thus, the
decision on the size and spacing between the holes or slots is mainly based on the
manufacturing feasibility. Center-to-center distance of the holes as well as the diameter
of holes must also be precisely maintained and is critical in order to achieve desired
accuracy. To illustrate how the center-to center distance and the hole size effects the
flexibility, figure 2.4 and Table 2.1 depict how the size of holes/pins and the center-to-
center distance (λ , λ ) affect the possible feasible configurations for the one DOF
fixture vice designed by Wallack et al., ( 1996).
x y
Table 2.1 Fixture configurations and size of array [Wallack, 1996]
Object
Spacing(λ , λ )
x y
Hole size No. of Configuration
Part A 8.0,8.0 2.0 726
Part A 8.0,8.0 1.5 8950
Part A 6.0,6.0 2.0 2962
Part A 6.0,6.0 1.5 36835

The results show that as the size of the hole decreases and the spacing between the holes
reduces, the possible combinations of the fixture increases. To increase the number of
fixture configurations attainable, the design in this thesis decouples the pins relative
position in the moving jaw (of figure 2.4) by introducing two top slides each with an

26
array of holes and one degree of freedom relative to the moving jaw. The moving jaw in
the thesis design is called the intermediate plate.
For the design presented in this thesis, the locating pins take positions in the holes
on the top slides. Thus, each pin has two degrees of freedom (dof), where the X dof is
kinematically constrained with the moving of the intermediate plate and Y dof by moving
a top plate on the intermediate plate. At the beginning of the operation, the top slides are
positioned in a loading area where the necessary locating pins required for positioning the
part are based on the prior knowledge of part geometry and the algorithm.

Fixed
Jaw
Movable
jaw
Part A
An array
of holes

Figure 2.4 Part A –Wallack’s configurations
The pins are then loaded into the determined locations. Next the top and intermediate
plates are moved in ‘X’ and ‘Y’ direction to move the locating pins to a predetermined
position. In order to effectively use the staged array an algorithm is developed which
determines the appropriate position of the locating pin with respect to fixed reference.
The staged array of pins/holes approach will add three-fold flexibility in the
locating system. First, flexibility is achieved by activating only required pins in the top
plate. Thus any pin can be activated to achieve the desirable configuration. Second

27
flexibility is achieved by moving the intermediate plates in the ‘X’ direction. Third the
flexibility is achieved by moving the top plate in the ‘Y’ direction. With this
configuration a large variety of part geometries can be accommodated, positively locating
the part on the fixture base plate where the main limitation is in the part size. For
analysis, the work area is considered to be 300 mm x 150mm.The complete conceptual
operation of the system is shown step by step in the figure 2.5. To prove this concept a
prototype shown in figure 2.3 was built. The parts were created on a rapid prototyping
machine at the University of Florida. For convenience of manufacturing, the x and y
spacing between the holes was 5 mm and the diameter of the hole was 2.5 mm. This
system has many advantages. It has a very simple design and yet is high precision and
reconfigurable. Only planer objects will be considered for this research work. The figure
2.6 shows some of the possible fixture configurations for accommodating parts of
different sizes and shapes, thus, illustrating the adaptability of system in fixturing variety
of parts. Figures 2.6 (a) to 2.6. (b) show the successive positions of the slides moved to
accommodate the parts. Figure 2.6 (e) shows the possible movement of locating pins to
achieve the form closure. Figure 2.6(c) and 2.6(d) shows two different workpieces and
the fixture configuration further illustrating the variety of parts that can be fixtured. At
this point in the research, the determination of these images was the fixture configuration
presented in these figures does not follow any algorithm. These images were just to show
the adaptability of the proposed system.
Part Family Versus Fixture Size
The family of different parts and the variety of parts geometries that can be
accommodated on the fixture is subject to the following limitations:
• Minimum distance between plates/pins.

28
• Center-to-center distance between the holes.
• Diameter of the locating pin.

(a) Initial position

(c) Top plate moving in other direction

(b) Intermediate plate moving
(d) Top plate moved into loading area
(e) Locating pin positioned in hole
(bottom perspective view with supporting
structure removed)
(f) Locating pin positioned in
hole (top perspective view)
1b
1a
Fixed Top
plate (2)

Figure 2.5 Fixture operation

29

a) Initial position

c) Pin arrangement to locate workpiece

e) 4 location pin to achieve form closure

1
1a
1a 2a
2a
2b
1b
2b
1b
b) Top plates slide on intermediate plate

Pin 2a
Pin 1a
2a
d) 3 pin location to locate bow blade






Figure 2.6 The fixture configurations
2b
1b
Pin 1b
Pin 2b
Pin 1b
Pin 2b
Pin 2a
Pin 2a
1a
2a
Pin 4
1b
2b
Pin 1b
Pin 2b

30

Part Size: Quantification
The following equations and inequalities quantify the maximum and minimum
size of the family of parts that can be fixtured, relative to the overall size of the fixture.
Refering to figure 2.7 for dimensional terminology, let us assume that the locating pins
are denoted by the shaded holes shown on the top plates and the two holes on the last row
of the fixed plate and that the part does not extend outside the fixture base plate of
dimensions (Wfix, Lfix). The array of holes is assumed to be uniformly spaced in the X
and Y directions with a center-to-center distance is denoted by “a” with the array’s
distance from the fixture components edge as shown in figure 2.7. The hole diameter is
denoted by d. With the pin locations with the top plates in their maximum distance apart,
the maximum dimension of the part that can be accommodated on fixture base plate is
determined as follows.
(Lfix) max= A-2*[2*a + (d/2)]
(Wfix) max=B-[(2*+ (d/2)) + (a+d/2)]
To have no restriction in the parts orientation on the fixture, then the governing condition
for the fixture and part size is that the maximum dimensions of the part (Lmax) shown in
figure 2.7(b) must be both less than Lfix and Wfix. This condition guaranties that all
possible W (Lmax) is also less than both Lfix and Wfix since W (Lmax) <=Lmax.
If any of above condition doesn’t satisfy keeping other condition satisfied there
can be limited number of possible configuration achieved on the fixture. The reason why
the upper most left and right pin locations of the top plate were not chosen was to ensure
that given the maximum part size, hole locations would be available for clamping.

31





a) Pin configuration and dimension terminology

b) Dimension terminology -part
B
Holes used
(Max size)
a
a
A
Lmax
Wmax
Lmin
Wmin

Figure 2.7 Quantification of maximum part size
32

Fixture Configuration: Pin Locations
The next issue is to decide which pins/holes on the top plates should be used for
the fixture configuration (optimal fixture configuration). As illustrated in the previous
figures 2.5 and 2.6, there are many possible combinations of holes in which the locating
pins can be loaded that form feasible fixture configurations. Many algorithms are
available in the literature that can be used for obtaining pin configurations. Wallack and
Canny (1996) assumed a four locator and zero clamp algorithm. They considered a planar
object and assumed horizontal clamping; wherein the major portion of the clamping force
is absorbed by the locating pins. To completely locate the part, the algorithm developed
by Zhuang and Goldberg (1998) was selected and modified for the fixturing system
presented in this thesis. The algorithm assumes three locators and one clamp
configuration. The locating pins however are not used as a bench vise as in the case of
Wallack and Canny (1996).
The input to Zhuang and Goldberg’s algorithm is the dimensions of a planar object
and the three sides to be used for the location, the size of locating pin, center-to-center
distance between the holes, and the size of array. The output of the first module of the
algorithm is all possible configurations of the three locating pins (triplets). Then
depending on the available position for clamping, the feasible configurations of locators
and clamps are formed. As a starting point, the location of the first locating pin is
assumed. Then the position of the second and third locating pin is decided as per the
algorithm. Refer to appendix for greater details.
Pin Location Algorithm
The algorithm developed for this research is as described below. The algorithm
gives the number of fixture configurations that achieves the form closure. The optimal
33

configuration can be found from these possible solutions through application of
optimization theory, left for future work. As shown in the figure 2.8, the three edges of
the workpiece to be used for the workpiece location are assumed known a prior. To
implement this algorithm the workpiece should have at least two straight edges. For
generality these edges are denoted by Ea, Eb, and Ec. It is assumed that Ea makes contact
with the locator at the origin of the array of holes on the fixed plate. The first locating pin
is assumed to be on the fixed top plate. The first locating side Ea will be in contact with
this locating pin. By translating and rotating Ea about the origin, Eb sweeps out an
annulus centered on the origin, with an inner radius equal to the minimum distance
between Ea and Eb and an outer diameter equal to the maximum distance between Ea and
Eb. That is, for any orientation of Ea, as the workpiece translates along the extent of Ea,
Eb sweeps out a small area. The union of these areas as workpiece rotates, Ea forms an
annulus. Note if sides Ea and Eb share a corner, the inner radius of the annulus goes to
zero.

Figure 2.8 Algorithm- mathematical concept
To eliminate equivalent fixtures, only the first quadrant of this annulus is
considered (see figure 2.9). For this research the second pin is also placed on the fixed
34

top plate. Therefore, once these two pin positions are determined the third pin, which is
on one of the movable top slides and has two degrees of freedom can be determined. The
determination of the third pin is selected from the subset of available Eb edge positions
resulting from the second pin’s constraint as well as remaining within the top slide’s
range. If edge Ec was chosen, a similar annulus for the safety of the operation and
stability of the workpiece any of the pins cannot be placed near the vertex of the planar
object the cutting forces tend to move the workpiece.
Max Ea-Eb
Min Ea-Eb= 0
First quadrant

Figure 2.9 Algorithm- possible position of second pin
That is, if the locating pins are placed very close to the corner of the workpiece
and the cutting force acting on the workpiece increases above a critical limit, the
workpiece edge may get deformed and chances of the workpiece changing its orientation
are high. In figure 2.10 the distance ‘M’ is shown as the safe distance. This distance is
decided by the designer depending upon the material, the cutting forces acting on the
workpiece.
35

The algorithm is modified to accommodate this safety. Consider the figure 2.10
To find out the possible safe position of the pin 2 the min and max distances between the
edge Ea and Eb is found as follows.
( )
2
2
2 2
) ( ) (
) ( ) ( ) (
M LEb M LEa Eb Ea Max
M M Eb Ea Min
− + − = −
+ = −


Possible position of first pin
Possible
second pin
position
LEb
LEa

Figure 2.10 Modified algorithm
Where, LEa is length of edge Ea, LEb is length of edge Eb and M is the safe distance
from the corner to protect the edge from damage. Based on these calculations, the new
circles are drawn taking modified minimum and maximum distances as radii (see figure
2.11) shows the resulting swept area overloaded on the fixture design given in figure
2.11. The possible safe position of the second locating pin is in this area. Once the first
and second pin positions are found, the third pin can be positioned at the required
position by moving the intermediate and top plate respectively in x and y direction by the
calculated distance. The clamp will be located on the second top plate and positioned in
same way as the third locating pin. To achieve greater flexibility in clamping the second
36

pin position is selected in such a way that the workpiece makes a sufficient angle with
respect to x axis (defined in figure 2.3).
LEa
LEa
Y
X
1a
1b
2

Figure 2.11 Swept area
Following figure 2.12 shows the step by step procedure adopted to implement the
algorithm on the fixturing design presented in this thesis. The clamp mounted on the
moving plate applies a horizontal/vertical force of workpiece squeezing the workpiece
against the locating pins. Though for form closure analysis it is assumed that the point
contacts of the pins are frictionless, in actuality friction will be there. As a process like
drilling and broaching may produce the large forces acting in ‘Z’ direction, this research
uses clamping integrated with the pin. The details are presented in chapter 4. Also note,
in this research friction force is considered to be sufficient to hold the workpiece against
the cutting force acting on the workpiece in positive Z direction. This is a very
conservative assumption.
37


1b
1a
Ea
Pin 2a
2 2
(b) Possible positions of second pin

(a) First pin location


Eb
1a
1b
1b
1a
Pin 1a
Pin 2b
Pin 2a
2
2
(d) Third pin adjusted to position (c) Second pin position


Locating
pin on top
plate acting
as clamp

(e) Complete configuration

Figure 2.12 Algorithm

38
Fixture Foolproofing
As stated before, the function of a fixture is to hold the workpiece in a particular
orientation in a fixed coordinate system. However, the same workpiece, with a given set
of locators, can be located in many different ways. This is contradictory to the basic
fixturing principal. Generally unskilled operators are the end users of fixtures. Their job
is to load the workpiece on the machine and start the machine. It’s the designer’s job to
make sure that knowingly or unknowingly the operator cannot make any mistake in
loading a part in the fixture. Hence, fixtures that permit only one pose for the loaded
workpiece are very desirable. Consider two cases presented here.
The sequence of images in figure 2.13 demonstrates fixture foolproofing. The first
case shows a fixture configuration where the three locating pins are in contact with the
workpiece and the other two pins, foolproofing pins, do not even touch the workpiece.
Without these foolproofing pins the workpiece can be loaded in different positions. If the
foolproofing pins are not used and the machining programs are written for case one
workpiece orientation yet the workpiece is wrongfully loaded as shown in case two, one
can imagine the disaster. The workpiece will have to be scrapped, the tool may break
and/or the fixture components may break. Any damage can occur. The foolproofing pins
shown in the figure 2.13, act as a safeguard. That is, as show in case 2, it would prevent
the possibility of placing the workpiece wrongfully. To summarize, while the
foolproofing pins guarantee the loading orientation of the workpiece, it does not affect
the precision orientation of the workpiece since they do not touch the workpiece. Hence,
the foolproofing can be easily implemented in the present FFS design by placing the pin
in any of the free holes on the top moving plates or the base plate. Furthermore by using
the 4
th
pin in a dual use mode, the clamping pin can serve as a foolproofing pin during

39
part loading prior to clamp engagement. There is extensive research ongoing for
determining optimal placement of the foolproofing pin. For the design in this thesis,
implementation of such algorithms has been left for future work.

Workpiece
wrong orientation
Top Slide
Case 1- With Foolproofing Pins
Case 2- Without Foolproofing Pins
Foolproofing
pin 2
Foolproofing pin1

Figure 2.13 Fixture foolproofing
Fixture Analysis
Fixture analysis is an important issue in fixture design. For each candidate fixture
configuration, a fixture analysis must be performed to validate that it does not violate any
fixture design rules. The following details the analysis used to determine the FFS
configuration.
Kinematics
The fixture elements (fixels) should not interfere with the proposed tool path nor
should they restrict access to features being machined. Fixture elements should be able to
access desired faces and features for location and clamping. For accurate and correct

40
workpiece location the fixels should yield the orientation of the workpiece with respect to
the reference datum surfaces. To achieve a stable workpiece orientation, the information
from the process plan and the output of the pin locating algorithm are assumed given a
prior, where the fixels can be introduced into the form closure algorithm as additional
constraints.
Force Analysis
Force analysis is concerned with checking that the forces applied by the fixture
elements are sufficient to maintain static equilibrium in the presence of cutting forces.
This is also referred to as force closure. To achieve force closure, for planer workpieces
at least four degrees of freedom must be constrained. That is, force closure requires four
simultaneous contacts in order to satisfy four simultaneous constraint equations. The
ability of the part to rotate, translate in x and y provides 3 DOF and the fixturing system
must provide at least one degree of freedom (Wallack, 1996). In this thesis the fixture
provides 2 DOF (Movement in X and Y direction). In force closure method, very little
friction is assumed at the contact points, barely enough to hold the part in position.
Therefore, it is assumed that all contacts are frictionless point contacts and hence the
reaction force acting at the contact point is normal to the workpiece edge. Then the
complete static equilibrium of the part on the fixture base plate is achieved when the
summation of forces and torques acting on the part is zero. As defined by Wallack (1996)
using only four pins the forces at contact points (3 locators and 1 clamp) induce four
torques relative to a reference point on the object as shown in figure 2.14.
x y y x
r f r f r f − = × = τ

41
Where, τ is moment of force about a arbitrary point. is the force acting in X direction
and is the force acting in ‘Y’ direction and ( , ) is the (X, Y) distance of the point
of application of the force on the workpiece relative to the arbitrary point.
x
f
y
f
x
r
y
r
Considering the four , , τ wrenches, force closure corresponds to finding four
multipliers λ such that
x
f
4
y
f
3 2
, , λ λ λ
1,
and 0 > λ
i
and satisfies the equations below. Note
that if becomes zero or negative, physically it means the workpiece has lost contact
with the locating pin.
i
λ

|
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
τ
λ +
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
τ
λ +
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
τ
λ +
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
τ
λ
0
0
0
4
, 4
, 4
4
3
, 3
, 3
3
2
, 2
, 2
2
1
, 2
, 1
1 y
x
y
x
y
x
y
x
f
f
f
f
f
f
f
f





Constructing a 3 by 4 matrix M consisting of the four contact vectors, the (3 x 3)
minors of M can be computed by removing the i th column from matrix M. Since the
multipliers λ must lie within null space of M, they must be scaled multiples
(ά) of the minors ( .
4 3 2
, , λ λ λ
1,
,
1
M M ) , ,
4 3 2
M M

Figure 2.14 Force closure

42
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

τ τ τ τ
=
4 3 2 1
, 4 , 3 , 2 , 1
, 4 , 3 , 2 , 1
y y y y
x x x x
f f f f
f f f f
M
( ) = ά(
4 3 2
, , λ λ λ λ
1,
) , , ,
4 3 2 1
M M M M

where,
4 3 2
, 4 , 3 , 2
, 4 , 3 , 2
det 1
τ τ τ
=
y y y
x x x
f f f
f f f
M

The M2, M3 and M4 are similarly defined. Therefore the four vectors provide force
closure if and only if the minors of M all have the same sign and none of them is zero.
Form Closure Analysis
It can be seen from the figure 2.16 that by moving the plates on the base plate any
part within the range of plate movements can be successfully accommodated on the
fixture plate. As per standard 3-2-1 locating principal, shown in figure 2.15, only 3 pins
and a clamp are sufficient to positively locate a planar part. The definition of form
closure is more than a century old and refers to constraining all motions of a body by
using set of frictionless contacts, despite the application of external wrenches (force and
moments). Any motion of the object in form closure violates the rigidity of contacts
(Reaulexus, 1890).
Reaulexus (1890) first proved that the 4 point contacts are sufficient to arrest all
degrees of freedom of the workpiece if it was assumed to be a planar object. Other
researchers came up with theory that 7 pins are necessary for form closure for three
dimensional objects. For the four point contact method there can be many combinations
of pin and clamp selections e.g., three locators one clamp, four clamps zero locators, four
locators and zero clamps. In this thesis, the Reuleaux method is selected as the analysis

43

Primary Reference
Plane

Secondary Reference
Plane
Ternary Reference
Plane


Support pin(s)
Locating Pin(s)
Y
X
Z

Figure 2.15 The 3-2-1 locating principle
technique for proving form closure and the basis for obtaining locating pin coordinates.
The standard 3-2-1 principle is used for locating the workpiece. An object in space has
six degrees of freedom in total (× 2 to account for positive/negative directions). The three
pins on the primary surface will arrest two degrees of freedom. (positive and negative
rotational motion along x and y axis and linear movement in negative Z direction). The
two locating pins on secondary plane arrests three degrees of freedom. (positive and
negative rotational movement along Z direction and linear movement along negative X
axis). The third pin on ternary plane arrests one degree of freedom, negative Y
movement. Thus in total, three locating pins and three supporting pins arrest six degrees
of freedom. The remaining degrees of freedom are arrested by a clamping system. It is
assumed that the workpiece is placed directly on the prepositioned supporting pins fixture
base plate. To illustrate, the form closure is now discussed in detail using the example as
shown in the figure 2.16. As shown, four pins are used for form closure. Pin 1 arrests

44
movement in +/- X direction and movement along - Y. Pin 2 and 3 arrests movement in
+Y and +/- rotational movement about Z axis. Thus, these pins and the supporting plate
(arrests +/- X rotation, +/- Y rotation and – Z directions) arrest all degrees of freedom
except for movement in +Z direction which can be arrested by a clamp. In this case, pin
4 doesn’t serve any purpose assuming the radius of arc at the pin 1 is equal to the pin
radius. Otherwise, the movement of workpiece in ‘+‘X direction is possible where to
restrict this movement the pin 4 is used. In summery, the fixture locating and clamping
system should make sure that each part clamped on the fixture plate is located properly
without leaving any degree of freedom.
X

Pin 1b
Pin 2b
Pin 2a
Y
Pin 4

Figure 2.16 Fixture configuration
Deformation Analysis
Workpiece deformation is one of the most important issues. The concern is that a
part may deform elastically or plastically under the influence of the cutting and clamping
forces. Thus, the desired tolerances will not be achieved. Deformation is particularly a
concern with flexible parts and with parts in which a great deal of material is removed
(Hockenberger, 1995). This analysis is not covered in this thesis, and is only mentioned
here for completeness of identifying IFS requirements.

45
Design Verification/Evaluation
As per Shinzadeh and Tie (1999), fixture verification is an integral part of the
design process and must allow for the detection of any interference that may occur during
the fixture construction. Verification of the design process is necessary for following
reasons.
1. Too many factors are involved in the design process: it is very difficult to
establish accurate analysis models.
2. Design constraints are considered individually and hence sometimes some
constraints are contradictory.
3. Fixture design has a close relationship with other activities (Computer Aided
Manufacturing (CAM), Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP)). In a
manufacturing system, it is necessary to check feasibility of the design.
The performance indices for the design verification/evaluation are
• Number wrenches
• Clamping forces
• Workpiece equilibrium
• Workpiece stability
• Workpiece deformation
• Fixture dexterity
• Fixture set up time

The next task is to automate the fixture so as to avoid the human intervention. Possible
automation areas include
• Pin activation (Pin popping up or Pin pushing mechanism).
• Selection of the holes on top plate to activate locating pins (Locating pin
configuration).
• Sliding motion of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ slides.
The basic requirements from the locating pin are: it should be able to press fit in the
top plate holes and yet should be able to be removed. The locating pin can be pushed in
or popped out in the pin loading area. But the major concern is to achieve it easily

46
without losing the accuracy. The conceptual design of a locating pin can use the collet
mechanism as shown in figure 2.17. As discussed earlier, the majority of the clamping
force is absorbed by the locating pin. In extreme cases, the locating pin can lose its
original shape and may lead to change in orientation of the workpiece. The other possible
design of locating pin may include hydraulic mechanism. The locating pin will be hollow
and the fluid pressure applied inside the pin will expand the pin making a press fit
between the pin and top moving plate.

Figure 2.17 Locating pin
The conceptual design of other variants of fixturing system, integrating the
clamping system and supporting systems are presented in Chapter 4.To summarize, in
this chapter the design of a new intelligent fixturing and the algorithm to determine the
locating pin positions is discussed. The fixture design aspects like fixture foolproofing
were briefly introduced. The form closure and force closure analysis was described and
the fixture design was validated via example using these criteria. A variety of parts were
located on the prototype to depict the adaptability of the new design. The next chapter
discusses the error analysis in which the inaccuracies of the guideways and their effect on
positioning the locating pins is are considered. Ultimately, the error in the orientation of
the workpiece due to these errors is analyzed.


CHAPTER 3
ANALYSIS
Error Analysis
Quasi-static mechanical errors are errors in the machine, fixturing, tooling and
workpiece that occur relatively slowly. This means that the errors occur at a frequency
much lower than the bandwidth of axes on the machine that can be used to correct the
errors. Sources of these types of errors include:
• Geometric errors
• Kinematic errors
• External load induced errors.
• Machine assembly load induced errors
• Thermal expansion errors
• Material instability errors
• Instrumentation errors

Some errors have a period of hours or even years. These errors include errors
caused by thermal growth and material instability (Slocum, 1997). The above different
sources of errors induce inaccuracy in the relative motion of guideways which is of
particular concern in the FFS of this thesis. An inaccurate locator position could change
the orientation of workpiece in fixed coordinate system which in turn can cause
inaccuracies in machined features.
The error analysis in this chapter estimates the error in final position of the locator
and its effect on the workpiece orientation. The coordinate system is as shown in figure
3.1. The fixed coordinate system {0} is attached to the base plate. Coordinate system {1}
is attached to the intermediate sliding plate and coordinate system {2} is attached to the
47
48
top plate. There is movement only in X and Y directions. Considering the planar object,
the
{0}
{1}
{2}
{3}
Yo
Xo

X1

Y1

X2
Y2

Y3

X3

Base Plate
Intermediate
Plate
Top Sliding
Plate

Figure 3.1 Coordinate frame
inaccuracies in “Z” direction can be neglected. The locating pin is commanded to move
by a specified distance in X and Y. The error in X, Y and Z position of pin is determined,
depending on different inaccuracies. Once the inaccuracies are known for the location of
the locating pin the inaccuracy in orientation of workpiece can then be determined using
the algorithm that locates the workpiece. For this analysis, it is assumed that the
machining operating is to drill a hole at the center of workpiece. The inaccuracy in the
orientation of workpiece causes the shift in the center of the hole. Combining the effect of
the positioning error with the location pin and the tolerances on the workpiece may
aggravate the dimensional error. The following analysis is an attempt to characterize and
evaluate the comprehensive effect of all these factors on the accuracy of the machining
process.
Assumptions:
• The workpiece is a rigid body having no other geometric errors and is considered
for the tolerance only.

49
• Errors in two top moving plates have similar pattern.
• The locating pins are placed as far as possible from each other so as to minimize
the errors due to inaccuracy in contact surface. For the typical case presented in this
section the distance between the pins is 70 mm (¼ the maximum travel range).
• The assumed errors are for precision guideways.
Errors can be induced because of the error in parallelism, perpendicularity and
waviness in the guideways. These errors in guideways prevent the smooth movement of
the sliding parts. The waviness of the surface on guideways may cause the roll, pitch and
yaw in the sliding movement of slider. As shown in the figure 3.1, if the intermediate
plate is moving in X direction , then because of the inaccurate guideways the slider can
have rotational movement about Y axis which is defined as ‘pitch’, the rotational
movement about X defined as ‘roll’ and the rotational movement about the Z is defined
as ‘yaw’. If a body is moving in a specific direction it can have six different types of
errors. As discussed above, these are the three rotational errors about the axis and the
three translational errors along the axis.
Yaw
Roll

Pitch
X
Y
Z

Figure 3.2 Rotational errors

50
Terminology. The δ is used to denote the translational errors. The E is used to
denote rotational error. The errors (x) are function of the sliding plate’s position along the
X axis.
E (x) is roll error of the slide
x
E (x) is pitch error of the slide
y
E (x) is yaw error of the slide
z
δ (x) is displacement error of the slide
x
δ (x) is Y straightness error of the slide
y
δ (x) is Z straightness error of the slide z
The error model is given by
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

δ −
δ −
δ −
=
1 0 0 0
) ( 1 ) ( ) (
) ( ) ( 1 ) (
) ( ) ( ) ( 1
1
x x E x E
x x E x E
x x E x E
E
z x y
y x z
x y z

The error components in the above equations are divided into four groups with respect to
characteristic similarities, measurement procedures required, and the sensor used.
1) Linear displacement errors (e.g., ) ( ), ( y x
y x
δ δ and ) (z
z
δ ).
2) Angular errors (e.g. ). ) ( ), ( Z E X E
Y X
3) Straightness, parallelism (e.g. ) ( ), ( ), ( y z y
y x z
δ δ δ ).
4) Thermal drifts.
Linear displacement errors. Linear displacement errors are defined as the
translational error motions of a machine element along its axis of motion (travel). In
general this type of error is caused by the geometric inaccuracies of the drive mechanism
and feedback unit. In the case of ballscrew actuated slides, lead errors of the ballscrew,

51
misalignment between its axis of rotation and its centerline, irregularities in its geometry,
and coupling errors between the feedback unit and the ballscrew cause linear errors.
Angular errors. Angular errors are rotational errors caused by geometric
inaccuracies of the guideways and the misalignment in the assemblies of structural
elements of the machine tool. Yaw error is the rotational error of the slide around the axis
perpendicular to the plane in which linear axis of motion (travel) lies. Roll error is the
rotational error of the slide around the axis of motion (travel) and the pitch error is the
rotational error of slide around the third orthogonal axis of slide. The contributions of all
three rotational errors to the resultant error are significant.
Straightness and parallelism measurements. Straightness is the translational
error of the machine element that can occur in either of the two directions orthogonal to a
slides axis of motion (travel).
Thermal drift. Thermal drift is defined in ANSI standard B89.6.2 as “a changing
distance between two objects, associated with a changing temperature distribution within
the structural loop due to internal and external sources.
In this thesis only the errors due to motion are considered (i.e., displacement, parallelism,
perpendicularity). To characterize these errors mathematically the following
transformation matrices are defined. The T is an intermediate slide coordinate system
with respect to base coordinate system. The T is a top slide coordinate system with
respect to intermediate slide coordinate system. The T is an locating pin coordinate
system with respect to the top slide coordinate system. Thus, T is locating pin
coordinate system with respect to the fixed base coordinate system.
0
1
1
2
2
3
0
3

52
The intermediate slide has only one degree of freedom, i.e. in X direction. So the
homogeneous transformation matrix (HTM) is given by,
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

+
+
+
=
1 0 0 0
1 0 0
0 1 0
0 0 1
1 1
1 1
1 1
0
1
movement off
movement off
movement off
Z Z
Y Y
X X
T

The actual HTM for the intermediate slide with error in the fixed {0} co ordinate system
is equals T .
1
0
1
* E
Now consider movement of top plate with respect to the intermediate plate.
The transformation matrix becomes
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

+
+
+
=
1 0 0 0
1 0 0
0 1 0
0 0 1
2 2
2 2
2 2
1
2
movement offset
movement offset
movement offset
Z Z
Y Y
X X
T

(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

δ −
δ −
δ −
=
1 0 0 0
) ( 1 ) ( ) (
) ( ) ( 1 ) (
) ( ) ( ) ( 1
2
y y E y E
y z E y E
y y E y E
E
z x y
y x Z
x y z

The actual HTM with error for top moving plates with respect to the {1} coordinate
system equalsT .
2
1
2
* E
It is assumed that a pin at the center of the top slide is actuated. The {3} coordinate
system is attached to the center of locating pin. There is no relative movement between
the locating pin and the top slide hence there will not be any error model. The
transformation matrix is

53
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

+
+
+
=
1 0 0 0
1 0 0
0 1 0
0 0 1
3 3
3 3
3 3
2
3
movement offset
movement offset
movement offset
Z Z
Y Y
X X
T

(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

=
1 0 0 0
0 1 0 0
0 0 1 0
0 0 0 1
3
E

So the actual HTM with error in fixed coordinate system is given by

3
2
3 2
1
2 1
0
1
1
3
* * * * * E T E T E T T =
A Matlab program is written to calculate the final answer where the final actual HTM
becomes.
) ( ) ) ( ( * ) (
) ( ) ) ( ( * ) ( * )) ( ) ( ) ( * ) ( (
* )) ( * ) ( 1 ) ( * ) ( ( * )) ( * ) ( ) ( ) ( (
) ( * ) ( 1 ) ( * ) (
) ( * ) ( 1 ) ( * ) (
) ( * ) ( ) ( ) (
) ( ) ) ( ( * ) (
) ) ( ( * ) ( ) ( * )) ( ) ( * ) ( ) ( (
* ) ( * ) ( ) ( ) ( ( * )) ( * ) ( ) ( * ) ( 1 (
) ( ) ( * ) ( ) (
) ( * ) ( ) ( ) (
) ( * ) ( ) ( * ) ( 1
1 2
2 2 3
3 3
1 2
2 2 3
3 3
0
3
+ + + −
+ + + + + − − +
− + − + + + =
− + − =
− + − =
+ + =
+ + + + +
+ + − + + + + +
+ − − + − − =
+ + =
+ − − =
− − =
(
(
(
(
¸
(

¸

=
Y x Z y x e
Y Y Y X y x e Z x e y e y e x e
Y y e x e y e x e X y e x e y e x e h
y e x e y e x e g
y e x e y e x e f
y e x e y e x e e
X X x Z y x e
Y Y y x e X y Z x e y e x e y e
Y y e x e x e y e X y e x e y e x e d
x e y e x e y e c
y e x e x e y e b
y e x e y e x e a
where
p o n m
l k j i
h g f e
d c b a
T
offset y offset z x
travel offset Y offset x z offest x x y z
offset x x z z offset y x z z
x x z z
x x z z
y x z z
offset travel x offset z y
travel offset y z offset x offset y x z y
offset x y z z offset y y z z
y x z y
x y z z
y y z z
error
δ δ
δ δ
δ δ
δ δ


54
1 , 0 , 0 , 0
) ( ) (
) ( ( * ) ( ) ) ( ( * ) ( * ) 1 ) ( * ) ( ) ( *
) ( ( * ) ( ) ( ) ( * ) ( ( * )) ( ) ( * ) ( * ) ( (
1 ) ( * ) ( ) ( * ) (
) ( ) ( ) ( * ) (
) ( ) ( * ) ( ) (
1 2
2 2 3
3 3
= = = =
+ + +
+ + + + − + −
+ + + + − − =
+ − − =
+ + =
− + − =
P O n m
Z x Z y
Y Y y x e X y x e Z y e x e y e
x e Y y e x e y e x e X y e y e x e x e l
y e x e y e x e k
y e x e y e x e j
y e y e x e x e i
offset z offset z
travel offset y x offset x y offset x x y
y offset x x z y offset y z x y
x x y y
x x z y
y z x y
δ δ
δ δ

15 , 90 , 20
, 0
0
0
2 1 2 1
3 3 3 3 3 3
2 2 2 2
1 1 1 1
= = =
= = = = = =
= = = =
= = = =
offset offset movement movement
movement offset movement offset movement offset
movement offset movement offset
movement movement offset offset
Z and Z mm Y mm X
Z Z Y Y X X
Z Y X X
Z Y Y X



To evaluate the FFS, it is assumed that for the top plate the Xmovement=0 and
Ymovement=30mm for this calculation. For this analysis, the guideways are assumed to
be very high precision (Grades A and B were both considered in the analysis). All the
errors will depend upon the quality of the guideways. Typically for this case, all the
errors are of the guideways of a high precision coordinate measuring machine. (Ziegert J.,
2002). The assumed errors for grade A are given as below.
Table 3.1 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade A)
X axis
δx(x) δy(x) δz(x) Ex(x) Ey(x) Ez(x)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 0.00114 -0.00035 0.00013 5.34E-06 -2.4E-06 -1.6E-05
20 0.00126 0.00047 0.00068 2.91E-06 -1.5E-06 -2E-05
30 0.00113 0.00391 0.00083 -2.4E-06 -2.4E-06 -1.9E-05
40 0.0012 0.00592 0.00121 -1E-05 -2.9E-06 -1.6E-05
50 0.00093 0.00554 0.00105 -2.2E-05 2.43E-06 -1.6E-05

In the final matrix, putting the corresponding values of
) ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( y y y y y y x x x x x x
z y x z y x z y x z y x
ε ε ε δ δ δ ε ε ε δ δ δ are
substituted to calculate the overall pin location errors. The XY squareness error is
assumed to be -2.0027 arc seconds. Figure 3.3 shows the effect of squareness error on the

55
positional accuracy. The L is the commanded travel of top slide in Y direction and Y is
new Y axis due to error in squareness.
Table 3.2 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade A)
Y axis
δx(y) δy(y) δz(y) Ex(y) Ey(y) Ez(y)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
30 0.0003 -0.00079 0.00083 -9.7E-07 2.91E-06 -9.7E-07
60 0.00181 -0.00096 0.00059 -3.9E-06 6.31E-06 1.31E-05
90 0.0024 -0.00004 0.00006 -6.8E-06 -1.9E-06 -1.9E-06
120 0.00391 0.00036 -0.00017 -1.3E-05 3.88E-06 3.4E-06
150 0.00431 -0.00146 0.00052 -2.3E-05 2.09E-05 3.01E-05
180 0.00515 -0.00123 0.00067 -2.4E-05 2.86E-05 3.54E-05
210 0.00598 -0.00075 0.00007 -2.6E-05 2.13E-05 2.62E-05
240 0.00729 -0.00012 -0.00052 -2.3E-05 1.99E-05 2.57E-05
270 0.00799 -0.00028 -0.0003 -2.6E-05 2.38E-05 3.1E-05
300 0.00843 0.00059 -0.00023 -2.8E-05 2.57E-05 3.15E-05


Theoretical guideway
Actual guideway

Figure 3.3 Squareness error
Neglecting higher order terms the x,y coordinates of the locating pin are obtained.
X=25.0003243mm and Y=54.99919 mm. So, the positional error is ∆x= (25-
25.0003243) = -0.0003243 mm (over travel), and ∆Y= (55-54.99919) =0.00081425 mm
(under travel). The negative error in this calculation denotes that the slides have over
traveled the commanded distance, while positive errors denotes the under travel. The
squareness errors are included in final error values.

56
Table 3.3 Locating pin X positioning errors (Grade A)

X travel

Y travel 0 10 20 30 40
0
0 -0.00151588 -0.00175 -0.00157 -0.00156
30 -0.0006156 -0.00262622 -0.00297 -0.00275 -0.00265
60 -0.0020654 -0.0045707 -0.00504 -0.00477 -0.00458
90 -0.0033227 -0.0063227 -0.0069 -0.00659 -0.00632
120 -0.0049907 -0.00848544 -0.00918 -0.00883 -0.00847
150 -0.0050152 -0.00900464 -0.00982 -0.00942 -0.00897
180 -0.0060132 -0.01049738 -0.01143 -0.01098 -0.01045
210 -0.007365 -0.01234387 -0.01339 -0.0129 -0.01228
240 -0.0089785 -0.01445211 -0.01561 -0.01508 -0.01438
270 -0.0098366 -0.01580484 -0.01708 -0.01651 -0.01571
300 -0.0105558 -0.01701884 -0.01841 -0.0178 -0.01691

Table 3.4 Locating pin Y positioning errors (Grade A)

X travel

Y travel 0 10 20 30 40
0
0 0.000842 8.29101E-05 -0.00347 -0.00567
30 0.000814252 0.001657 0.000897171 -0.00266 -0.00486
60 0.000632622 0.001475 0.000715563 -0.00284 -0.00504
90 8.85051E-05 0.000931 0.000171465 -0.00338 -0.00558
120 -0.000444871 0.000397 -0.000361885 -0.00392 -0.00612
150 0.000708243 0.001551 0.000791224 -0.00277 -0.00496
180 0.000344867 0.001187 0.000427862 -0.00313 -0.00533
210 9.5248E-05 0.000938 0.000178263 -0.00338 -0.00558
240 -0.000522625 0.00032 -0.000439585 -0.004 -0.0062
270 -0.000496001 0.000346 -0.000412949 -0.00397 -0.00617
300 -0.001378125 -0.00054 -0.001295064 -0.00485 -0.00705
All travels and error values are in mm.
Tables 3.3 and 3.4 show the error values in X and Y direction over the work space
for two different grades of guideways. This information can be used to estimate the
positioning errors in the locating pins, once the fixture configuration is decided. Knowing
the X travel of top plate and Y travel of intermediate plate, the value of error
corresponding to the particular row and column is the positioning error of the locating pin
at that position. Table 3.5 quantifies the findings for each of the grades in terms of over
max error and min error of the pin position versus that found in the guideways. As seen in
this table the error in guideways is reflected in the pin position.

57
Table 3.5 Error quantification.
Grade X error
guideway
X error pin
position
Y error
guideway
Y error pin
position
A 0.00126 0.01841 0.0000315 0.00705
B 0.00189 0.02534 0.001062 0.01059

Once positioning errors of the locating pin are found and evaluated, the effect of
these errors on the orientation of workpiece in the fixed coordinate {0} system can be
determined. A rectangular workpiece in which a hole is at the center is assumed. The
machining process assumed for this operation is drilling on a simple vertical pillar
drilling machine. Errors in the machine and part (except tolerance) will not be considered
in this analysis. Focusing on the errors in the FFS it is assumed that there is no
perpendicularity or parallelism error in the workpiece sides.

70
1 2
40
3
90
30
135
Figure 3.4 Fixture configuration for error analysis
As shown in figure 3.4, consider a rectangular workpiece of dimension 90mm x 40
mm having tolerance mm. Now, since pin1 and pin 2 are on fixed plate, there is no
relative motion among slides and hence it is assumed that no errors exist in the
005 . 0
+


58
positioning of these locating pins. It is assumed that the fixed plate is machined perfectly,
the center-to-center distance between the holes is maintained perfectly. From the figure
3.4, it can be seen that X error in positioning pin 3 is insensitive. It doesn’t affect the
accuracy of the workpiece. So, Y directional inaccuracy in positioning pin 3 will change
the position and /or orientation of workpiece. The workpiece is either moved in positive
or negative direction along the Y axis, moving the center coordinates of central hole
either along ‘+’ or ‘-‘ Y.

All dimensions are in mm.
Ideal position
Error due to
ovality in
locating pins
Positioning error
of locating pin
(Including part
tolerance i.e.
0.005mm)
Error due to
eccentric pin
Pin 1 Pin 2
Pin 3
Desired
center
Actual center

Figure 3.5 Mechanical errors
Referring to figure 3.5 Consider that the guideways are Grade A and that the
intermediate slide is moved along X by 20 mm and top slide is moved by 90 mm in the Y
so the pin 3 is theoretically placed at (45mm, 115mm) in the fixed coordinate system.
The locating pin diameter is assumed as 10mm. The ‘Y’ error for these coordinates is
0.0001714 mm (under travel). Now, consider the part is produced on upper tolerance level
i.e. 90.005mm. Pins 1 and 2 are assumed to also have the same circularity error as pin 3.

59
Further more assume that the locating pin3 is eccentric with the locating hole in the
top plate by 0.005 mm, has error in circularity by 0.005 mm.
Case 1. Consider that the pins are elliptic in shape, as shown in figure 3.5 and are
eccentric with the hole axis positively. The error in circularity of the pin will affect the
machining accuracy only if their major axis is not parallel to Y axis. In all other cases the
workpiece will posses the error in position along positive Y axis. If it is assumed that
workpiece is produced on the upper tolerance level (i.e., 90.005 mm), the total Y error
will be
actual desired tot
Y Y Y -
error .
=
tolerence error ovality error ity concentric error g positionin error tot
Workpiece Y Y Y Y + + + =
.

Neglecting theY ,
error ovality
mm Y
Y
toterror
toterror
00517 .
005 . 0 005 . 0 005 . 0 00017 .
=
+ − + =

Now consider the figure 3.5 for ‘X’ directional error. If the locating pins have
circularity error as shown in figure 3.5, it will affect the ‘X’ positioning accuracy of
workpiece. Consider the workpiece is produced on its lower tolerance limit (i.e. 39.995
mm).
mm X
X
P W X X
X X X
toterror
toterror
tolerence error y circularit toterror
actual desired error total
010 . 0
005 . 0 005 . 0
/
− =
+ =
+ =
− =



So, the hole center will be off by (0.010, 0.00517) mm from the reference edges.
Case 2. In the first case it was assumed that the pins on the fixed plate have no
inaccuracies. This case assumes that pin 2 have centers off by 0.002 mm in X direction.

60
The error in the Y direction may not affect the positional accuracy. Hence, for this case
for the pins on the fixed plate the Y direction is insensitive.


Figure 3.6 Case 2: combined mechanical errors affecting orientation
Consider the figure 3.6 where the dotted features show the ideal case without the
errors. The features in solid lines show the case with errors. The model includes
positioning error in locating pin 2 on moving top plate. For this case assume that the two
pins on the fixed plate have an offset of 0.002mm ( i.e. pin1 has +0.001mm error and pin
2 has -0.001mm error). In this case the X off in the pins will change the orientation of
workpiece as shown in the figure 3.6. The ‘X’ error being very small is neglected in this
case. As shown in the figure 3.6 the total Y error is derived as

61
( )
mm Y
Sin Y
Sin
Sin
error
error
0409 . 0
) ( 25
35 / 001 . 0
35 / ) 2 / 002 . 0 (
1
=
θ × =
= θ
= θ



The Y positional error in the locating pin on top plate is 0.005mm, assume the error
in concentricity on pin 3 as 0.0001714mm.
So total ‘Y’ directional error is given by
mm Y
Y
Y Y Y Y
totalerror
totalerror
error ityerror concentric error positional totalerror
0460 . 0
0409 . 0 005 . 0 000171 . 0
=
+ + =
+ + =

Table 3.6 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade B)
X axis
δx(x) δy(x) δz(x) Ex(x) Ey(x) Ez(x)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 0.00114 -0.00035 0.000195 8.00265E-06 -3.63757E-06 -2.47354E-05
20 0.00189 0.000705 0.00068 2.91005E-06 -1.45503E-06 -3.05556E-05
30 0.002034 0.007038 0.001245 -3.63757E-06 -3.63757E-06 -2.8373E-05
40 0.0012 0.00888 0.00121 -1.52778E-05 -5.2381E-06 -3.04101E-05
50 0.001674 0.009972 0.00189 -3.27381E-05 3.63757E-06 -2.47354E-05

Table 3.7 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade B)
Y axis
δx(y) δy(y) δz(y) Ex(z) Ey(y) Ez(y)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
30 0.00045 -0.001185 0.001245 -1.74603E-06 4.36508E-06 -1.45503E-06
60 0.002715 -0.00144 0.000885 -5.82011E-06 9.45767E-06 2.35714E-05
90 0.0036 -0.00006 0.00009 -1.01852E-05 -2.91005E-06 -2.91005E-06
120 0.005865 0.000648 -0.00026 -1.96429E-05 5.82011E-06 5.09259E-06
150 0.006896 -0.00219 0.00078 -3.49206E-05 3.75397E-05 4.51058E-05
180 0.00927 -0.001845 0.001005 -3.56481E-05 4.29233E-05 5.31085E-05
210 0.00897 -0.001125 0.000105 -3.85582E-05 3.20106E-05 3.92857E-05
240 0.010935 -0.000156 -0.00078 -4.10317E-05 2.9828E-05 3.85582E-05
270 0.011985 -0.00042 -0.00045 -3.92857E-05 3.56481E-05 5.5873E-05
300 0.0118132 0.001062 -0.00035 -4.97619E-05 3.85582E-05 4.72884E-05
All dimensions are in mm.
The above two different cases demonstrate the affect of the positional errors on the
workpiece orientation. The total X and Y errors in both cases denotes the X and Y errors

62
of the center of the hole. To add more depth to the study the x and y positional errors are
determined for different grade of guideways (Grade B). Next, the errors using grade B
guideways is used to further illustrate the propagation of errors for which the IFS must
compensate.
For Grade B guideways with the same pin dimensions and travel are used in the
prior cases, the following error analysis results in X and Y error as given below.
mm Y
Y
totalerror
totalerror
0052354 . 0
005 . 0 005 . 0 005 . 0 0002354 . 0
=
+ − + =

Table 3.8 Locating pin X positional errors (Grade B)

X travel

Y travel 0 10 20 30 40
0
0 -0.00170382 -0.00263 -0.002688762 -0.00188168
30 -0.0007778 -0.00322363 -0.00433 -0.004317688 -0.003571712
60 -0.0027085 -0.00589644 -0.00717 -0.007099627 -0.006414765
90 -0.0045469 -0.00847696 -0.00993 -0.009789276 -0.009165527
120 -0.0069033 -0.01157538 -0.0132 -0.012996827 -0.012434192
150 -0.0072253 -0.01263946 -0.01444 -0.014170033 -0.013668506
180 -0.0096907 -0.01584687 -0.01782 -0.017486571 -0.017046156
210 -0.0100276 -0.01692591 -0.01908 -0.018674741 -0.01829544
240 -0.0123022 -0.01994259 -0.02227 -0.021800548 -0.021482361
270 -0.0132108 -0.02159318 -0.02409 -0.02356027 -0.023303194
300 -0.013545 -0.02266949 -0.02534 -0.024745712 -0.02454975

So, Y positional error for grade B guideways is 0.0052354mm. This error is very
close to the error found for Grade A guideways. It should be noted that for the arbitrary
chosen (X, Y) pin displacement difference between guideway errors is (0.000114 -
0.0002350) and the difference in Y is (0.005235 -0.00517) 0.000065mm.
Comparing these results to Grade A cases, the dependency of the positional accuracy on
the accuracy of the guideways is demonstrated. That is the positional and orientation
accuracy largely depends upon the accuracy of the guideways selected for the system.
error total

63


Table 3.9 Locating pin Y positional errors ( Grade B)

X travel

Y travel 0 10 20 30 40
0
0 0.001088 0.00010254 -0.00638 -0.00835
30 0.001221377 0.00231 0.001323935 -0.00516 -0.00713
60 0.000850717 0.001939 0.000953323 -0.00553 -0.0075
90 0.000132756 0.001221 0.000235407 -0.00625 -0.00822
120 -0.000775309 0.000313 -0.000672597 -0.00716 -0.00912
150 0.001062362 0.002151 0.001165074 -0.00532 -0.00729
180 0.000517297 0.001606 0.000620076 -0.00587 -0.00783
210 0.000142867 0.001231 0.000245646 -0.00624 -0.00821
240 -0.000807944 0.000281 -0.000705107 -0.00719 -0.00916
270 -0.000976813 0.000112 -0.000873956 -0.00736 -0.00933
300 -0.002244195 -0.00116 -0.002141338 -0.00863 -0.01059

CHAPTER 4
CLAMPING SYSTEM
In the previous chapters, a new design of FFS mechanism for positioning locating
pins was presented along with a demonstration of its adaptability in locating a variety of
parts and its ability to locate them accurately. However, in order to realize an IFS, this
design requires an automated means to not only move the pins into their locating
positions with the workpiece, but to extend and retract them from holes within the top
plate with precision. In addition, the supporting pins and clamping mechanism need to be
designed to work in concert with the locating pins mechanism. This chapter presents the
design of an integrated approach for automating the pin and supporting pin engagement
and the clamping of the workpiece.
Selection of Clamping Positions
The basic purpose of the clamp is to prevent workpiece movement during the
machining operation. The machining (cutting) forces are in general complicated and time
varying where the major cutting forces, are normally absorbed by the locators. It is the
remaining forces that cause the unexpected movement of workpiece during the
machining. Thus, clamps are introduced to take care of these forces so as to not allow any
small movement of workpiece. At the same time, the clamping force must not be so large
that it causes workpiece deformation. As discussed previously, the clamping force should
be optimum, barely enough to restrict all possible movements under the action of cutting
forces. The basic principles that are followed in selecting clamping positions are as given
below.
64
65
• Clamps should be located in such a way that the clamping force is directed towards
the locating components without deforming the workpiece.
• Clamps are positioned in such a way that they do not interfere with the operation of
the machine.
• Positive reaction forces at locator contact point are required to ensure that the
workpiece maintains contact with all the locators from the beginning of the cut to
the end. A negative reaction force at the locator is physically not possible. If one or
more of the reaction forces should go to zero, this indicates that workpiece is no
longer in contact with corresponding locators and the fixturing is considered
unstable. Hence fixturing stability criterion is considered here and it states that all
the reaction forces at the locators must be positive during the entire machining
process.
Other rules are workpiece and machining operation specific such as: the particular
area that may not be used for clamping, the direction and kind of cutting forces (constant,
intermittent, impact force), and the cutting dynamics. So, based on these rules, the
preliminary clamping positions can be selected. Once the supporting and locating
positions are determined, preliminary clamping positions are then investigated on the
admissible set of clamping surfaces. The clamping positions are further adjusted to make
sure that clamping is collision free. There can be three types of interferences.
1. The interferences between fixturing components and fixture loading/unloading
tools.
2. The interference between fixturing components themselves.
3. The interference between fixturing components and the cutting tool.
Taking all these rules into consideration, the clamping system in this thesis is
designed to meet the following criteria.
• Interference free.
• Locate near the workpiece geometric border.
• Place as apart as possible.

66
Clamping System Ideal Case
To arrest all degrees of freedom of planar object four frictionless point contacts are
required. There can be different combinations of these four point contacts like three
locators and one clamp, four locators, four clamps. This research assumes both horizontal
and vertical clamping wherein the maximum force is taken by the support pins and
locators. Utilizing the algorithm developed by Brost and Goldberg (1996), three locators
and one clamp are assumed. The input to Brost and Goldberg’s system is the planar
object, locating surfaces/edges, the size of locating pin, center-to-center distance between
the holes, and size of array. Then, depending on the available positions for clamping, the
feasible configurations of locators and clamps are formed (discussed at length in Chapter
2). Once the position of the three locating pins is found, the fourth pin on the second top
moving plate can be used as a horizontal/vertical clamp. When the workpiece is rested
against the locating pins this fourth pin moves to squeeze in the workpiece against the
locating pins.
For the form closure analysis, for simplicity, it is assumed that there will not be
friction between the locating pins and workpiece although in practice friction will be
present. The major drawback of all the current designs is they assume the friction force
and the squeezing force is enough to hold the workpiece. This research handles this with
a different approach. The clamp is considered to have a point contact. Thus, the four
frictionless contacts are achieved to arrest all degrees of freedom. This is a conflicting
ideal case, i.e. first it is assumed that the clamp is a frictionless point contact, while on
the other hand the friction force is used to hold the workpiece. Also it is assumed,
irrespective of the cutting operation, cutting force and process dynamics, four point
contacts are sufficient to hold the workpiece. But in actual practice, there can be a

67
number of operations carried out on the workpiece where the cutting force can act on
various different points, e.g., in the case of the drilling operation : the tangential cutting
force and the axial force can act on different locations depending upon the locations of
the holes. In the traditional case, at the beginning of the operation the clamp is placed at
some point and considering all the cutting forces, the clamping force is applied. But this
is contradictory to the clamping principle, which says that the clamp should be located
near to the point of application of the cutting force.
The other issue is the clamping force applied on the workpiece may not be
optimum. Considering all the locations where the drilling is going to be done, the
clamping force is applied at one point which can be high enough to distort the workpiece,
which again can hamper the tolerance and surface finish of the workpiece due to
elastic/plastic deformation. This type of traditional clamping may not be suitable for the
‘Intelligent’ fixturing.
Another issue to be taken care in the modern fixturing is the changing workpiece
stiffness. Most of the times in machining operations, the first operation is roughing
operation where in the majority of the material is removed. The stiffness of the workpiece
changes after this operation. In practice, initial clamping, which remains the same
through out the operation, is done considering the maximum cutting forces acting on the
workpiece. But due to change in the stiffness of the workpiece during the machining
operation, in the later part of the machining process this force may be more than required
and can distort the workpiece. Hence, the clamping should be flexible enough to adjust
the clamping force during the operation. The requirements of clamping system in
intelligent fixturing are

68
• Automated/less manual interference.
• Real time control over workpiece distortion due to clamping force.
• Adjusting clamping force as per the change in workpiece stiffness.

The conceptual block diagram of clamping system is shown in figure 4.2.

Based on the machining process and parameters like feed, speed, fixture
configuration, position of locating, supporting and clamping devices, the clamping force
required to hold the workpiece is decided. The controller sends appropriate commands to
the clamping system. The feedback device checks the actual clamping force acting on the
workpiece and makes necessary changes if required. Once the machining process starts,
the FEA model based sensory data from the fixture is continuously fed back to the
control system. During the process, if the forces acting on the workpiece go beyond the
limit for deforming the workpiece, the FEA model based algorithm’s feedback modifies
the clamping force. Based on the knowledge of the machining process beforehand, the
changes in the stiffness of workpiece may be predicted and accordingly the clamping
force can be adjusted to the predetermined optimum clamping force. Depending upon the
availability of free holes on the base plate and based on the feedback from the system
additional supports may be activated to reduce the deformation of the workpiece.
Clamping System
As mentioned earlier, all the current designs assume that the friction force at the
contact points between the locators and workpiece is sufficient to hold the workpiece
against the forces acting in ‘Z’ direction. But for operations like drilling the axial force
may be high enough to lift the workpiece from fixture. In this thesis, two integrated
conceptual designs of the locating pin which can act as a horizontal/vertical clamp,
locating pin and support pin are presented as a multiuse. These locating pins with all

69
other features add more flexibility in the clamping/locating and supporting system. The
first design is presented in figure 4.1. The diameter of the top portion of the clamp
(vertical clamp) should be greater than diameter of locating pin but less than the diameter
of the collet area which fits in top plate. The outer diameter can be used as a horizontal
clamp, which basically squeezes the part against the locating pins. Activating
hydraulically, the locating pins vertical clamp extends above the locating pin section to
allow vertical clamping.

Surface used for
Location and horizontal clamping
Vertical Clamp
Support Pin
Locating Pin
Collet area

Figure 4.1 Flexible clamp
Depending upon the direction of liquid flow in hydraulic system the clamp moves
axially up or down. Once the workpiece is located by the locating pins and a horizontal
force is applied by moving the top moving plate, the clamp is activated to apply the
vertical clamping force. If the pin is to be used only for location purposes then the
vertical clamp is remains in its lower position. The same pin can also be used as a
support. It is popped out of the base plate. Then the central plunger is pushed up using the



7
0

text
Process Plan
y Mfg. operation
y Operation
Sequence
y Process model
and parameters
Optimal Fixture
Configuration
Fixture
Configuration
y Locating pins
y Clamps
y Support pins
Pin and Clamp
Position
Controller ( X,Y)
Clamping Force
(x,y,z)
Controller
IFS Hybrid
Control
Fixture Configuration
and Workpiece
Workpiece Deformation Compensator for
Clamping Force Control
y FEA model based
y Operating parameters
Workpiece Deformation Compensator
for Pin and Clamp Position Control
y Fixture Configuration Kinematics
y FEA model based

delta locations
Desired pin
and clamp
location
Desired
clamping
forces
delta locations
Actual pin
and clamp
locations
Actual
clamping
force
delta clamping force
Pre-Staging of Fixture
Configuration

Figure 4.2 IFS clamping control concept


71
hydraulic pressure. The plunger top cap acts as a support.

Figure 4.3 Locating pins and clamp, fixturing configuration
F
Fy
Fx
F= Horizontal clamping
force applied by
Locating pin/clamp

1a
2
1b
Pin 4
Figure 4.4 Fixture configuration
The fixture configuration is chosen in such a way that two pins are located on the
fixed top plate. One locating pin will be placed on top moving slide. So these three pins
are treated as locating pins. The fourth pin, which is used as a clamping pin, is placed on
the fourth moving plate. Once the workpiece is located against the locating pins the
fourth (clamping pin) is moved against the workpiece to apply horizontal clamping force.
It squeezes the workpiece against the locating pins. Based on the process model, the
optimal clamping force is decided. The optimal clamping force is defined as the minimal
force required for holding the workpiece under the action of cutting and clamping forces

72
without deforming the workpiece. For IFS implementation the sensor is to be placed
strategically on the locator which will sense the applied clamping force on the workpiece.
The actual clamping force is compared with theoretical clamping force derived from the
process model. The corrective signals are passed to the controller, which will activate the
actuator to make the necessary adjustment in the clamping force.
The base plate of the fixture has an array of holes. The workpiece is rested on the
top plate. As per the requirement, the additional supports can be given to the workpiece
from pins located in the base plate. Depending upon the requirement and to avoid the
distortion of workpiece due to clamping force, the additional supports are planned at
strategic places. The supports can be hydraulically actuated pins from the base plate to
support the workpiece. Generally supports are placed as far as possible from each other
and at the same time they should not be so far that the workpiece can deflect due to its
self weight and clamping force. So, theoretically the workpiece should have only three
supporting points (as three points form a plane). But in order to limit the workpiece
deflection the additional supports are given. Ideally supports should be placed right
below the clamp or vise versa.
Modified Clamp Design
The design presented figure 4.5 is better suited for IFS. Though the use of
hydraulics, this FFS has greater degree flexibility and clamping capacity and is human
intervention free. This design can be used as a locating pin and /or Z directional clamp.
The locks provided in the top plate separately lock the Z clamp and locator from
movement. At this condition the top surface of the clamp and top face of top plate are
flushed with each other. The hydraulic pressure can be applied at the bottom of the
plunger/clamp.

73













Z clamp
Locating pin
Top plate
Pressurized fluid
Top plate
Clamp flushed
with top surface
Plunger lock
Locator lock

Figure 4.5 Modified clamp design-original position

74



`
Locating
pin
Z clamp
Both locks
removed

Pressurized
fluid
Top
plate

Figure 4.6 Modified clamp- used as locator
Figure 4.6 shows the usage of clamp as a locator. The two locks are removed and
the hydraulic pressure is applied at the bottom of the plunger. The fluid pressure presses
the clamp and locator to move upwards. After reaching the final position, the hydraulic
pressure is maintained in the bottom chamber by closing the return valve. The clamp is

75
used as a locator in this position. Hydraulic pressure is applied at the bottom of plunger.
It pushes up the plunger above the top surface of top plate.
Next in figure 4.7, the plunger lock is removed but the locator lock is kept in the
position. The plunger will move in Z direction, and the workpiece can be pushed under
the Z clamp. Then, the fluid pressure is applied on the other side of plunger moving the Z
clamp in the opposite direction and holding the workpiece against the fixture base plate.
The clamping force can be maintained by maintaining the hydraulic pressure on plunger.
The clamping force can be varied by varying the hydraulic pressure. Thus, as per the IFS
controller concept, optimal clamping force can be adjusted by varying the hydraulic
pressure. The new design integrated into the locator positioning mechanism of prior
chapters is completely automatic and adaptable for intelligent clamping system.
This second design has higher degree of complexity compared to the first design;
however it greatly enhances the adaptability of the FFS for IFS implementation. For both
systems the “Z” directional force depends on the diameter of “Z clamp”. But the
limitation on the diameter is it can not be greater than the diameter of pin in the plate.
The clamping force also depends upon the shrink fit between the pin and plate. Higher
the fit size, the more the clamping force can be applied on the workpiece. Also, for Z
clamping the limitation of the system is, the stroke of hydraulic cylinder used (refer to
figure 4.7). The vertical clamping force depends upon the diameter of the top portion of
the clamp. The higher is this diameter greater the clamping force that can be applied on
the workpiece. Another constraining factor is the safe hydraulic pressure that can be
applied on the locator and plunger and the material properties of the clamp (tensile
strength, shear strength and bending strength).

76

Z clamp
Maximum height of
workpiece for designed
stroke
Locator
Locators
n lock, i

Plunger lock
removed
Pressurized
fluid



Figure 4.7 Modified clamp – clamp in action.

77
So, in this chapter the basic principles used in design of clamping position were
discussed. The IFS need of the clamping system was discussed. Following these needs as
design criteria’s for the clamping system, the two conceptual designs of clamping system
were presented. Lastly, limitations of the clamping system such as the clamping force and
the size were presented. The next chapter discusses the supporting system. An analysis on
the support positions is provided and a conceptual algorithm to rearrange support
positions in case of workpiece deformation is described.


CHAPTER 5
SUPPORT SYSTEM
The part tolerance depends on the deformation of the workpiece during machining.
This deformation should be given prime importance while planning a fixture. The place
where critical deformation occurs may require the designer to change the fixture
configuration, which is basically rearranging the supports and clamp positions.
Deformation analysis and interference checking is necessary to determine the best FFS
configuration, e.g., placement of supports and clamps. For initial fixture design, cutting
forces acting on the workpiece are assumed the input to the deformation analysis. The
output of this analysis will be the deformation of a workpiece with the given fixture
configuration and cutting forces. Once these results are achieved, the repositioning of the
supporting and clamping system is done. Heuristics and the analysis results are mainly
used in reallocation of supports.
The fixture configuration is planned depending upon the basic design principles
such as standard 3-2-1 locating principle, and heuristics as discussed in the previous
chapters. But still it is very important to study the deformation pattern and reposition the
supporting and clamping system. Under normal clamping and machining, deformation
due to elastic and plastic contact region and deformation between the fixels and
workpiece surfaces are significant. The machining accuracy of workpiece is greatly
affected by the workpiece bending and contact region deformation. Generally the locating
requirements are fulfilled first before deciding the clamping.
78
79
So, in deciding the best possible supporting, locating, clamping systems the
geometric reasoning mechanism is important aspect. Generally two kinds of workpiece
deformation is observed during the fixturing set up and process operations: 1)
deformation on the contact regions caused by fixturing forces (mainly because of
clamping forces), 2) bending of the workpiece caused by cutting forces. Both these
factors affect the machining accuracy of workpiece but the second kind of deformation
has major adverse effect on the accuracy of fixturing and processing.
It is highly recommended that workpiece have deformation within limits during the
machining operation. If the workpiece has undesirable deformation then it is necessary to
redesign the fixture. The original fixture configuration, and load position are reconsidered
in such cases. The 3-2-1 principle is kept intact while arranging the supports and
clamping position. Sometimes to restrict the deformation of workpiece, more than three
supports are used. The maximum deformation at any point of the workpiece is considered
as the critical deformation.

Figure 5.1 Support position analysis

80
Generally, it is observed that for prismatic workpiece the critical deformation
occurs at the corners or near the mid-edge or at the position at which the load is applied,
depending on the load position and its relationship with the supporting positions.
Logically, it can be said that maximum deformation occurs at a region away from the
support positions.
Depending on these facts, the basic rules for support positions can be developed.
The support should be placed near to the point of maximum (critical) deformation. So, if
the deformation analysis or intuition of the designer depicts the point of maximum
deflection, which is out of the limit, the support points should be moved towards the
point of maximum deflection. The second rule of thumb is that the support should not be
so close to the point of maximum deformation that it hampers the stability of the
workpiece. For stability of the workpiece, the supports should be as far as possible. These
two rules are self contradicting; the designer has to find the best trade off. In addition to
these rules, the other constraint may apply like some area of workpiece may be machined
and can not be used to support. For stability the supports should be placed somewhere out
side the area around the center of gravity.
Roy and Liao (1998) developed their algorithm to plan the positions of supports. It
is based on heuristics and the general principles in fixture design which have been
followed for quite long time. Excerpts of these basic rules from their research work are
presented as follows.
1. Move the support positions towards the critical deformation position.
2. The support positions should be moved along the border of the adjustable area (of
the supporting surface) of the workpiece.
3. The support positions should not be located in geometrically constrained regions.

81
They formed triangles connecting the two farthest support points and the point of
maximum deformation. With the other constraints in tact, like workpiece stability and
other geometric constraints the area of this triangle is tried to be minimum. Basically, the
supports were moved towards the point of maximum deformation following all other
constraints. Based on these rules the support positions are rearranged to have a minimum
workpiece deformation.
Here different ways that can be used to form a good support are suggested. The
other way is to use the vacant holes in the bottom plate. Raise the supporting pins through
these holes using hydraulic or pneumatic system. Once these pins touch the workpiece
lock the pins to this position. This system can also be binary actuated.


CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK
The objective of this research was to enhance the mechanical adaptability of
fixturing system design such that the key characteristics of Intelligent Fixturing System
(IFS) can be attained. To achieve the flexibility in fixturing the different techniques such
as the array of holes and bench vise, have been integrated into a unique mechanically
adaptable design. It was demonstrated successfully that designed system can handle
variety of parts of different size/shapes and comply with all the needs of IFS. The
conceptual clamping and supporting system was presented in this research work
demonstrates the ability of design to accommodate the current needs of manufacturing
environment to enhance the technology. To conclude, the contributions made by this
research work to manufacturing industry are a complete picture of an IFS, a design of a
unique flexible location system that has capability to attain the features of IFS, the
supporting algorithm to achieve the fixture configuration, and the conceptual design of
clamping/supporting system.
Future work. Adding intelligence to the system is very important issue.
Intelligence can be defined as the real time changes made in the system in order to
achieve the required configuration. There are many areas where intelligence can be
added to the base work presented in this thesis, which can be future work.
Clamping System. Many researchers have proved that during machining process
due to change in the stiffness of workpiece the initial clamping force may distort the
workpiece. The definition of optimal clamping force is the minimum clamping force
82
83
needed to overcome the cutting force and workpiece weight. So even cutting force may
vary during operation.
• In general the first cut is roughing cut wherein maximum amount of material is
removed. Obviously the cutting forces in this operation are maximum. And in
general the clamping is done considering this cutting force. But during the finishing
process the amount of material removed is much less compared to roughing cut and
hence the cutting forces.
• During machining process the stiffness of workpiece changes. For example
machining thin walled cylinder out of solid cylinder. The workpiece is clamped
considering the original stiffness. But as per the requirement of machining process
once the most of the material at the center is removed in drilling and boring
operation the workpiece stiffness changes drastically. The initial clamping force
will be too much for this changed stiffness workpiece, which can deform the
workpiece. This is definitely not good for the accuracy of machining operation.
Intelligence can be introduced in the fixture by adjusting the clamping force with
corresponding changes in the cutting force and stiffness of workpiece. This can be a real
time adaptive system. Different processes can be studied depending on the requirement.
The process models can be generated and integrated into the controller. Based on the
knowledge of the cutting parameters before hand, the machining force can be estimated
during different stages of the machining process and clamping forces can be adjusted
accordingly. Another way is to mount the sensors on the supports. The forces acting on
the workpiece and deformation of workpiece under the action of these forces can be
sensed through the sensor. Accordingly, the clamping force can be adjusted to ‘optimal
clamping force’.
Locating pin popup mechanism. Once the configuration of pins is decided there
can be a separate arrangement for pin activation called “Pin Loading” mechanism. Pins
can be loaded from top as well as from bottom. The top plate will move outside the
intermediate plate on guideways provided in the pin loading area. Only required pins are

84
inserted either from top or bottom and then again the top plate will slide on the guide
ways to come on the fixture base plate.
Micro level adjustment: Once the configuration is decided the next task is to load
the workpiece in fixture. As per the positive location principal, all pins should make and
maintain the contact through out the machining operation. Some times (as shown in error
analysis) due to the tolerance and errors in the motion, locating pins fail to touch the
workpiece. In such cases minute change in the fixturing system is needed. The sensor on
the locating pins sense the force acting on pin. The locating pin will be moved to touch
the workpiece till the force acting on pin reaches the required value.
Support Mechanism. Once the workpiece is located on the fixture plate there can
be number of holes which are free. These holes can be used to locate a supporting pin.
The supporting pin can be activated pneumatically or hydraulically. The supporting pins
will raise from these holes. Once the pins touch the workpiece the ‘Z’ movement of pins
will be locked maintaining the constant pneumatic/hydraulic pressure on pin. Once the
supporting pins touch the workpiece they should be locked in this position and this can be
a binary actuated mechanism.


APPENDIX
GOLDBERG’S ALGORITHM
The three edges of the workpiece which we are going to be used for location will be
given to the system. For generality these edges are denoted by Ea , Eb, Ec. It is assumed
that Ea makes contact with the locator at the origin of the lattice.

Figure A-1 Workpiece orientation.
By translating and rotating Ea about origin, Eb sweeps out an annulus centered on
the origin, with inner radius equal to the minimum distance between Ea and Eb and outer
diameter equals to maximum distance between Ea and Eb. That is, for any orientation of
Ea, as we translate along the extent of Ea, Eb sweeps out a parallelogram. The union of
these parallelograms as we rotate Ea forms an annulus. To eliminate equivalent fixtures,
we only need to consider the first quadrant of this annulus.
We now consider each of these second locator positions in turn and identify all
possible positions for the third locator. If the first locator contacts ea and the second
locator contacts Eb, then a third locator in contact with Ec must be pair wise consistent
85
86
with both Ea and Eb. The exact region swept out by Ec as we maintain contact with the
first two locators is difficult to characterize.
However, we can easily find an envelop that contains this region by independently
considering each pair. That is, the possible locations for Ec with respect to Eb form an
annulus around the second locator. Intersecting these annuli provides a conservative
bound on the set of grid locations that simultaneously satisfy both constraints.

Figure A-2 Position of first locating pin

87

Figure A-3 Possible location of second pin

Figure A-4 Circle method to find the possible location of second pin

Figure A-5 Elimination of possible position

88
This bound further can be refined by considering the angular limits for each
annulus. This is accomplished by first identifying the angular limits of the part
configurations that simultaneously contact the first and second locators, producing a (
θmax, θmin) interval of reachable part angles. Then this interval is transformed by
adding the (βmin, βmax) interval that delineates the minimum and maximum angle
attainable by a ray connecting Ea and Ec . The resulting [(θmin+ βmin),( θmax+ βmax)]
interval describes the set of all possible angles between points on edge Ea and Ec, while
Ea and Eb maintain contact with locators 1 and 2. This interval defines a sector of the
EaEc annulus; points outside this sector are unreachable by the Ec. A similar construction
produces a sector of the Eb Ec annulus based on the β-interval corresponding to edges Eb
and Ec. Intersecting these annular sectors provides a set of candidate locations for the
third locator.



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Umesh Avadhut Tol was born on August 7, 1975, in Barshi, India. He grew up in a
godly, compassionate home by his loving parents in Kolhapur. He graduated with
Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering in June 1998 from Shivaji
University. He worked for Cummins India Ltd. for three years after his undergraduate
studies. Then he came to the USA in Fall 2001 to pursue higher education in mechanical
engineering. The author plans to return to industry after graduation.

93

Copyright 2003 by Umesh A. Tol

This thesis is dedicated to my father, who is an inspiration for me.

Gloria Wiens who gave the author the opportunity to continue his education in a field of his desire. iv . Special recognition goes to Dr. Dr. John Schueller. for their contribution and support. whose invaluable advice helped bring industrial relevance to the project. Last but not least. thus keeping the author on the right path for completion of the thesis. Dr. Thanks are expressed to all the Space Automation and Manufacturing Mechanisms (SAMM) Laboratory colleagues and the friends who helped the author accomplish this task especially Kaveh Albekord for his valuable help in formatting the thesis. for this endeavor. Dr. Wiens and Mr. Gloria Wiens and Dr. the author is deeply thankful for his co-advisors. for their advice and mentoring on this thesis. DMI . Tony Schmitz. Gloria Wiens. Dr. Henry Gallops. the author wishes to express his great gratitude to Dr. as well as the financial support of Bear Archery Inc. respectively.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author would like to express his thanks to the members of his supervisory committee. Gallops for the curricular practical training opportunity they made possible for expanding his educational experience. and Mr.9800806) and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. John Schueller. Also. Henry Gallops. The author is grateful for the research and teaching assistantships provided by the National Science Foundation (grant no. This work would not have been possible without the help of Mr.

...........................................................13 2 DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND THERORETICAL DEVELOPMENT............32 Pin Location Algorithm ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................32 Fixture Foolproofing......................................47 Error Analysis...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... vii LIST OF FIGURES ................10 Literature Review ..................................1 Fixture Design and Implementation Issues..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .........................................................................................................................38 Fixture Analysis....................4 Flexibility and Reconfiguration Techniques .................................45 3 ANALYSIS..............................................................................................................18 Fixture Design ..........................................................................................6 Automation Process........................................................2 Facts of Modern Manufacturing Environment ..............................................................................39 Kinematics......... iv LIST OF TABLES......44 Design Verification/Evaluation ..........................................................................39 Force Analysis .........................................................................................30 Fixture Configuration: Pin Locations .24 Array of Holes: Size and Spacing ..........................................................................................9 Evolution of Fixturing Research...............................................................................................................................................................42 Deformation Analysis.................47 v ................ viii ABSTRACT.....................40 Form Closure Analysis ...................................27 Part Size: Quantification...................................................................................18 Technical Design Approach ....................................................... xi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ..........................................................25 Part Family Versus Fixture Size...........................................................................................

.........................................93 vi ...............................85 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................78 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK...68 Modified Clamp Design .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................4 CLAMPING SYSTEM.............................66 Clamping System.......................64 Selection of Clamping Positions...........64 Clamping System Ideal Case .........................................................................................89 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................................................................................................................................72 5 6 SUPPORT SYSTEM .........82 APPENDIX GOLDBERG’S ALGORITHM ...........................................................................................................................

................................................................61 Locating pin X positional errors (Grade B) ..5 3...........................................................LIST OF TABLES Table 2...... .......................63 vii .............................................................................1 3...................................................57 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade B) ...................56 Error quantification.....9 page Fixture configurations and size of array ......1 3....................25 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade A)..........................................................3 3.7 3............................54 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade A)...................................................................2 3........................4 3.........................56 Locating pin Y positioning errors (Grade A) ....................................8 3......................................................................55 Locating pin X positioning errors (Grade A) ...61 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade B) ..........6 3..62 Locating pin Y positional errors (Grade B) ..............................

................................................9 Flexible clamp design.......................................8 Modular fixture with ‘T’ slotted bed.................................5 2........................7 2..3 1.................6 1....................................................................22 The new design..................9 IFS control scenario ......................................................................................1 1............35 viii ............8 Modular fixture tool kit ..................1 2................................................................................................9 page Production planning .............................................................5 Flexible fixturing techniques............4 1..............2 1.....................21 Comparison of the flexible fixtures........34 2.............................................................13 2...7 1............................31 Algorithm...............................................................................................................28 The fixture configurations .........4 2.........................33 Algorithm................................................3 Fixturing problem description.......2 Fixture design process............................................................................................................3 2...............................................24 Part A –Wallack’s configurations .......................................................................................6 2..................................7 Modular fixture with an array of holes........12 1.....................................LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1..........11 Fluidized bed fixturing ............................................possible position of second pin ...........................................................mathematical concept ...................................29 Quantification of maximum part size........................................................................26 Fixture operation ..........................................................................................5 1.....................10 Modified algorithm ...........8 2.........................................................................................2 2...................................................................................................8 1......................................10 Bed of nails....

............................................................................................................17 Locating pin................74 Modified clamp-clamp in action ..................................3 3..................................................37 2..13 Fixture foolproofing ...........................................................1 4.................................................71 Modified clamp design-original position ...............55 Fixture configuration for error analysis..................................................................15 The 3-2-1 locating principle ............................................................................................................................6 4..............................................................2.................2 4..........................................4 4................41 2.........76 Support position analysis .................................3 4.......................................87 ix ..............................................................................................................36 2............................................................................................1 Coordinate frame..........57 Mechanical errors ..................................................................................................................................................7 5......................................................................... ............................................16 Fixture configuration...................................................................................48 Rotational errors...........................................................44 2....................................46 3........................................... fixturing configuration ..............43 2.........85 A-2 Position of first locating pin .70 Locating pins and clamp............................................14 Force closure ........................................12 Algorithm .......................................4 3..................................5 4............................................................................39 2........................60 Flexible clamp ...........................................................................2 3...................................................................................69 IFS clamping control concept ..............73 Modified clamp-used as locator ............6 4.............................11 Swept area ..........................79 A-1 Workpiece orientation........................87 A-4 Circle method to find the possible location of second pin ...................................................................86 A-3 Possible location of second pin ....1 3.....5 3................................58 Case 2: combined mechanical errors affecting orientation ..............................................................71 Fixture configuration.....................49 Squareness error .............................

.............87 x .................................................................A-5 Elimination of possible position..

and automation are very important to educe the complete advantages that the modern manufacturing environment promises. flexibility. The growing expectation of today’s customers to having manufacturers responding immediately to their demands for product variety and mass customization has made it essential for the implementation of modern manufacturing strategies and technology. 2003 Chair: Gloria Wiens Co-chair: John Schueller Major Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. A catalyst of this expectation may be the recent advances achieved in Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) by major industrial research and development groups and academic researchers.Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science DESIGN OF A MECHANICALLY ADAPTABLE LOCATING AND SUPPORTING SYSTEM FOR AN INTELLIGENT FIXTURE By Umesh Avadhut Tol December. it is still facing the importunate lack of flexibility in work holding/fixturing. xi . While the manufacturing industry desperately needs to produce a variety of different products with short lead-time. The key enabling attributes of intelligent fixturing such as reconfigurability.

the Goldberg algorithm has been extended for configuring the new fixture design effectively. clamping and/or supporting has been developed for horizontal and vertical clamping. The objective of this research is to enhance the mechanical adaptability of fixturing system design such that the key characteristics of Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS) can be attained. this thesis briefly discusses the clamping system. A conceptual design of a multipurpose pin capable of locating. thus completing the development of an innovative fixture design that enhances mechanical adaptability.The motivation of the research presented in this thesis addresses the need for technological advancements that enable the realization of intelligent fixturing systems. To achieve these objectives a combination of techniques. have been integrated into a new mechanically adaptable design. xii . the design has the necessary features that will enable the realization of fixturing system in manufacturing. A conceptual algorithm for the fixture support system was developed to minimize the workpiece deformation during machining process under the action of clamping and cutting. In summary. A small prototype has been built to further demonstrate the design concept and the range of part shape and size complexity that can be accommodated. The mechanically adaptable design was also evaluated in terms of the propagation of fixture errors and their effects on the part location accuracy. The resulting algorithm has been implemented using various parts of different sizes and shapes to show the adaptability and flexibility of the fixture in achieving complete form closure. in particular the array of holes and bench vise. To determine suitable locations for the locating pins. For the completeness of fixturing.

researchers and engineers have not been able to attain ‘complete’ flexibility in the manufacturing environment. These tasks are dependent upon the part geometry and the manufacturing process in which the fixturing limitations may dictate a need for change in product design and/or process planning (represented by dashed arrows). The catalyst for this expectation may be the recent advancements achieved by major industrial research and development groups and academic researchers. Even after achieving major breakthroughs in FMS research and development. Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) are designed with the impetus of producing a variety of different products with short lead-time. Hence.CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The growing expectations of today’s customers to having manufacturers respond immediately to their demands for product variety and mass customization has made the implementation of modern manufacturing strategies and technology essential. The remainder of this chapter 1 . the motivation for the research presented in this thesis addresses the need for technological advancements that enable the realization of intelligent fixturing systems. Therefore. and fixture configuration planning are found to be significant tasks. The fundamental knowledge in the design of fixtures is still considered quite limited. tends to be product and machine specific. and relies heavily on the experience or use of trial-and-error methods. one of the biggest challenges for product quality and production efficiency in both traditional and modern manufacturing environments has been the proper design of tooling and work holding (fixturing) systems.1 depicts the complexity in product planning where the set up. Figure 1. fixture.

Product Design (CAD) Set Up Planning Operation Sequence Workpiece Orientation Geometric Representation text Process Planning (CAPP) Fixture Planning Locating Surfaces/Points Clampingtext Surfaces/points Supporting Surfaces/Points Fixture Configuration Fixture Element Selection Position and Orientation Determination Production System NC programming CAM \ MRP Fixture Assembly Element List Robotic Assembly Figure 1. The important issues with dedicated fixtures are as follows.1 Production planning (Bi and Zhang. 2001) Fixture Design and Implementation Issues In today’s manufacturing environment. The development time can be a critical factor in the determination of the time-to-market for launching a new .2 defines the fixturing design process and implementation issues. the time and cost involved in the development is large and may vary from a few days to months. As can be inferred from figure 1.” The basic steps involved in the fixture design are shown in the figure 1.2.3. fixturing is considered a specialized tooling commonly referred to as a “dedicated fixture. Time and cost. and provides an overview of the state of the art in flexible fixturing and Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS).

locating point determination . Cost of tooling alone is as much as 20-30% of total production cost (Shirinzadeh.feature accuracy .candidate locating surface grouping . 1996)......result validation Figure 1.locating/clamping surface candidate Fixturing Surface Accessibility Analysis . The dedicated fixtures are highly inflexible...clamping point determination Integration with Fixture Configuration Design .vertical clamping point determination Horizontal Locating/Clamping Planning . .locating method and clamping type ..virtual vertical locating surface formation ...primary locating direction ... Made for a particular part.accessibility of the points on the surface Fixturing Accuracy Analysis ..interface to fixture configuration design .surface accessibility ..surface segment formation in a cross section ...3 product.2 Fixture design process Inflexible.possible locating point sampling ..inter-fixture accuracy relationship Geometric Constraint Analysis ..locating/clamping surface candidate Vertical Locating/Clamping Planning . Fixturing Feature Analysis .surface grouping ..documentation .. fixturing stability verification . they become obsolete due to any small change in the part design including even changes in the level of tolerances.

The time required to set up a fixture on a machine. The competitive market and instability in business have driven larger industries to out source much of the small jobs that typically involve many set up changes due to small . 2001).4 Set up change over time. Precision is required in fixture manufacturing. Skilled labor to design and manufacture. it involves many skilled man-hours and precision machine-hours which in turn leads to high cost of production (Bi and Zhang. varies from machine to machine. It also involves greater maintenance cost. a few parts are generally produced as a trial and then checked for quality. The rule of thumb says that a fixture should be produced within 1/10th of the final part requirements. Inventory and maintenance. the batch size calculation decides the quantity produced in one setting. to make necessary changes in machine setting if required. This time varies from a few hours to days depending on the complexity of the fixture. The time required to remove the current fixture from the machine bed/pallet. the number of dedicated fixture grows. and depends on the complexity of the fixture. and to place a new fixture on the pallet adds to the lead time and decreases productivity. Facts of Modern Manufacturing Environment A logical solution to the above issues would be to minimize set up time to produce maximum quantity of products for each given setting. As the variety of parts produced within a manufacturing facility increases. Generally. and for validating the quality of parts. This requires a large amount of space for storage and greater manpower and costs. This reduces the cost per part. Once the fixture is set. Thus skilled and experienced labor is typically needed for operating high precision machines and instruments. Setting time. In all. The setting time is a non-productive time and increases the total cost of the product.

Today’s manufacturing industry uses a number of Computerized Numerically Controlled (CNC) and Direct Numerical Control (DNC) machines and FMS towards achieving flexibility in production while minimizing human intervention and maintaining accuracy and repeatability in the product line. Hence.3 Fixturing problem description batch sizes and part variability. It means larger industries have shifted (not eliminated) many of their fixturing needs to small scale and medium scale industries. Designed to perform single and small batch operations. CNC and FMS also include automatic tool . the more logical solution is to design a flexible system with greater mechanical adaptability to accommodate a larger variety of parts.5 Problem Description of a Fixture Configuration Design Description of workpiece and its machining process Description of a flexible fixture Design restrictions Design parameters and variables Design objectives Total design process/ time Fixture Analysis Construction Models Form closure Accessibility/detachability Deformation Evaluation Models Stability Equilibrium Dynamic behavior Dexterity Fixture Synthesis Decomposition of the synthesis process Determination of initial variables Verification of candidates Search strategies Calculation reduction Output of optimal solution Fixture Verification Form closure Accessibility/detachability Deformation Figure 1.

In order to replace or reduce the requirement for fixtures. 5. Flexibility in production planning. Furthermore. flexible clamping systems to fluidized bed fixturing. recent research efforts have been directed towards developing alternative approaches to traditional fixturing to add flexibility in the fixturing. Figure 1. According to the shape .4 (Shirinzadeh. 3. These range from use of an array of holes. automatic offset checking mechanisms and automated guided vehicles to load and unload the parts that facilitate quick change over in set up and process steps.6 changers. 2. The lead time for the manual design of a machining fixture can be as long as two to three weeks. Flexibility and Reconfiguration Techniques Therefore. Despite all these autonomous machines. Reduction in cost(s) associated with manufacturing of dedicated fixtures. 4. Reduction in the cost associated with storing a multiplicity of dedicated jigs and fixtures by reducing the number of different fixtures needed. the bottleneck in a truly flexible manufacturing system is the inability of dedicated fixtures to change set up quickly and automatically. Reduction in the lead time and effort required to design dedicated fixtures. fixturing must also be flexible. Innovative concepts like an array of holes and fixtures having an array of pins were designed so as to accommodate different parts. there is lead time and effort associated with the design and manufacturing of special purpose and dedicated fixturing. The advantages of employing such devices are listed as follows. if FMS are to be truly flexible. which is not acceptable. Increased planning and programming capabilities to accommodate part variability. 1. 1996) lists the overall techniques used to achieve flexibility in fixturing.

The modular fixturing system is assembled using different types of “Meccano like” components on the standard base plate for proper positioning and fixturing of the workpiece on the machine tool. The clamp position is adjusted so as to make sure that workpiece will not move during machining. the fixture is reconfigured.4 Flexible fixturing techniques (Shirinzadeh.5 shows the example of modular fixturing using an array of holes (Yuasa Modular Flex System.7 Flexible Fixturing Strategies Sensory Based Fixturing Modular and Reconfigurable Fixtures Programmable Clamps Adaptable Clamps Phase -Change Fixtures Other Fixture Concepts Visual Callibration CAD/CAM Database Servo Mechanism Memory Metal Bi-Phase Material Modular Fixture Kit Reconfigurable Fixtures Pseudo Phase change Material Authentic Phase Change Material Manually Assembled Automatically Assembled Robotic System Mechatronic System Particulate Fluidized Bed Low Melting Point Alloy Active Polymers Electrically Induced Thermally Induced Figure 1.6 shows “T” slots used to add flexibility in modular fixtures. Figure 1. Figure 1. In this system clamps and “Tennons” can be moved anywhere in these slots to create a new fixture (Eiwin Modular Fixture System). and reassembled for a variety of workpieces. USA). saving the cost of a new fixture. This concept was given the name reconfigurable/ modular fixturing. 1996) of the workpiece and cutting dynamics only required pins are manually placed to form a locating system. It is cost and time efficient. . Keeping basic parts the same and rearranging the elements. particularly for small to medium batch production because it can be assembled. disassembled.

Research has been carried out to optimize the number of components in the kit and maximize the number of possible fixtures out of it. locators. These standard parts are used to configure a fixture. Figure 1.7 shows a standard commercially available modular fixturing tool kit.6 Modular fixture with ‘T’ slotted bed (Bi and Zhang.5 Modular fixture with an array of holes (Bi and Zhang.8 Figure 1. and clamps. Although modular/ reconfigurable fixtures are widely accepted in the industry they have some basic problems like high initial cost and skilled labor requirements. Shen and Shirinzadeh (1996) and Bi and Zhang (2001) worked on flexible clamping/location systems. 2001) Shirinzadeh (1996) came up with the new concept called “Tool Kit”. These . 2001) Figure 1.8 shows clamp designs of such a system. The kit consists of standard elements like v block. Figure 1.

Thus. Automation Process After working on the flexibility issue. flexibility can be achieved in clamping the parts of different size and shapes. Thus flexible locating/clamping systems were designed to accommodate the small variations in the part dimensions.walkermagnet. The fluid is solidified to hold the part during the machining. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems and different mechanical systems. were used to add flexibility to fixtures. The automated design of advanced fixtures requires a thorough understanding of mechanical principles. the part can be easily removed after machining by bringing the fluid back to its liquid state. the next immediate target was the automation of this process.9 shows the basic concept and steps involved in this type of Fixturing.com/mag/clamping/grinding Figure 1. 1996) clamps work on a rack and pinion mechanism. eccentric locators.7 Modular fixture tool kit (Shirinzadeh. multiple functional work holding . Hazen and Wright (1990) came up with an innovative fluidized bed. The height of the clamp can be adjusted and similarly the leverage point can be adjusted to obtain a different mechanical advantage. and rack pinion type mechanisms. the part can be oriented in any direction.9 http://www. Figure 1. methods such as spring-loaded clamps. Then due to the fluid’s lower melting point. Since the fluid can take any shape.

semi automatic. the user’s input is required in deciding the clamping position and location points. An array of pins was a concept researcher Szuba et al. and locating systems) reduces human intervention while making the system more accurate and fast. The supporting pins are moved so as to reduce the maximum deflection. When a part is placed on the “bed of nails” these pins are activated. But a major drawback of the system is that it is too costly for small / medium scale industry. shooting up to touch the part (figure 1. Evolution of Fixturing Research Different approaches have been used to design a flexible location system. Thus. Design of the support position to avoid the deflection of workpiece due to its self weight and cutting forces was also partly automated. The pins were activated either hydraulically or pneumatically.. the FEA analysis detects the point of maximum deflection. Based on basic laws of fixturing and heuristics. . This was interfaced with the FEA software like IDEAS. Automation of modular fixturing (assembly.10 requirements. (2001) tried to exploit. In case of a semi automatic system. Once the workpiece model.10). support points. and fully automatic computerized fixture designs were developed. clamping. and cutting forces are fed to the system. This requires a complete knowledge of the geometry of the part and the accessible surfaces for clamping and locating. and applications of advanced electro-mechanical technologies. the orientation of the workpiece is decided on the machine table. The fully automatic designs complete the fixture without human intervention. The basic idea behind this algorithm is to provide the supporting pads right below the point of maximum deflection. Sensors on the pins detect the part surface and create a CAD model of the workpiece which is then fed back to the controller.

2001) .11 Figure 1.8 Flexible clamp design (Bi and Zhang.

1990) .12 Figure 1.9 Fluidized bed fixturing (Hazen and Wright.

Researchers realized the need for flexibility in fixturing. It used to be designed for a particular workpiece.13 Figure 1. In spite of all these advances fixturing was still addressed with the same traditional approach. lower per unit cost. An obvious outcome of this trend is “market pull” and “technological push” which are forcing today’s industry towards achieving the complete flexibility and automation on all fronts of manufacturing.10 Bed of nails (Bi and Zhang. fixturing was considered to be a form of specialized tooling. Earlier successful efforts were made in process automation. shorter product life cycle. Conscious efforts were made to achieve flexibility in fixturing and . higher product quality and most importantly short lead time. 2001) Literature Review Traditionally. Computerized numerically controlled machines were developed followed by machining centers with five and six degrees of freedom. But increasing intensive global competition in manufacturing and the changing consumer demand resulted in a change in management focus towards product variety. Automation reached a peak when FMS and FMC’s (flexible manufacturing cells) were developed. A growing trend towards product variety and frequent changes in product design made the traditional fixturing approaches restrictive.

14 to accommodate more parts on the same fixture. The innovative concept of an array of holes or pins to locate the part was used (Sebastien et. al, 1998). More flexibility was added by mounting the array of pins on movable jaws (Wallack and Canny, 1996). Further research carried out in this area addressed many issues like optimization of the number and size of pins. Computerized algorithms were developed to locate the workpiece using an array of pins (Hurtado and Melkote, 2002). Basically, researchers got the idea of flexible fixtures from robotic grippers. Sudsang et al., (1998) developed a flexible gripper which consisted of two parallel plates where as the upper plate had an array of pins. Activating only the required pins workpiece was grabbed and oriented. Sudsang et al., (1998) also presented the simple and efficient mechanism to grasp and orient the workpiece. Other research being carried out is on optimizing the clamping force so as to avoid the distortion of the workpiece due to improper clamping. Mishra (1995) studied the grasping mechanics in detail. He studied relations and trade off among effectiveness of grasp, geometry of object to be grasped, number of figures needed, and complexity of computation for the grasp synthesis algorithm. The new concept of a modular fixturing immerged to achieve the flexibility (Kakish et al., 2000). The basic principle was to accommodate a number of parts on the same fixture. Efforts were made to optimize the number of parts in the tool kit and maximize the number of parts that can be accommodated on same fixture, i.e. maximize the possible feasible combinations of the fixture (Wallack, 1996). Other efforts were made to achieve automation providing computerized solution (Wallack and Canny, 1996) of the fixturing problems for reducing the design and development time of fixtures (Wu. et al., 1998 and Yu and Goldberg, 1998). Research has been carried out to make the

15 assembly process automated thus avoiding the chances of error because of human intervention and reducing the lead-time (Lim et al., 1989, Gusti et. al., 1994, and Ngoi et al., 1997). Researchers worked on adding intelligence in modular fixturing. They introduced a real time system which measures and monitors the reaction force on the locators (Tao and Kumar, 1997). Penev and Aristides (1999) discussed core issues like foolproofing. Roy and Liao (1998) described a rational approach based on the use of both qualitative and quantitative reasoning tools to plan for the best supporting, locating, and clamping positions to hold the workpiece rigidly and accurately during the machining process. These efforts of automating the modularity of fixturing were highly appreciated by the industry (Bi and Zhang, 2001). Different approaches were adopted and proposed to achieve the flexibility in modular fixturing and automating the process. Using these solutions, companies came up with commercial products with an array of T slots, dowels, or tapped holes. However, some professionals found that the problems in the modular fixturing, such as some parts/geometries, cannot be accommodated using modular fixture (Zhuang and Goldberg, 1996). They discussed the inherent problems with the system and suggested the need for a new system. Important issues like design feasibility of modular fixtures due to variation in the dimension of parts and due to variation in tolerances and redesign were discussed in reference (Zhuang and Goldberg, 1996). Efforts were made to achieve the solution to this problem by proposing a flexible fixturing system. The intention behind this was to accommodate small variations in fixturing conditions. Using the sensors for automatically measuring the position of clamping surfaces and vice opening, automation in the clamping and fast process was experimented (Lu et al., 1997). Further, a hydraulic positioning mechanism was proposed

16 (Karl et al., 1994). Hong Du et al., (1998) discussed a three-fingered automated flexible fixturing system for planar objects, which consisted of a fixturing algorithm with two CNC modules and an auxiliary mechanism. It was based on using a minimum number of pins to immobilize the part. It offered flexibility to accommodate objects of different shapes. They have shown that the system is flexible, reconfigurable, automatic, and capable of fixturing planar objects of different shapes and sizes in the machining process. A formalized study has been carried in planning strategy and implementation of flexible fixturing in CIM environment (Shirinzadeh, 1996). A new technique of automated design and fabrication of fixture gripper tooling for mechanical assembly was invented by Velasco et al., (1997).This technique utilizes geometric computations on CAD, part descriptions to derive form and force closure tooling, and uses prototyping technology to fabricate the computed tooling directly from the derived CAD description. Dynamic analysis of reconfigurable fixtures and different mechanisms to add flexibility and automation were proposed (Shen and Shirinzadeh, 2001), but all these systems still had the basic problem of limited flexibility. Despite the advances in fixturing, a persistent problem is the Limited Flexibility. The above techniques can be used for a group of parts but the main constraint is to know the details about its geometry before hand. In order to counter this problem, research thrusts have recently shifted towards the development of the next generation of complete flexible automated fixturing, known as Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS). The IFS characteristic differences from automated/robotic fixturing systems and/or modular/reconfigurable fixturing systems are:

Emphasis on the fixturing process control during machining, assembly, or other manufacturing operation

The error analysis and its effect on the orientation of workpiece are presented in chapter 3. Adaptive to disturbances Provides feedback information to IFS controller The objective of this research is to enhance the mechanical adaptability of fixturing system design such that the key characteristics of an intelligent fixturing system can be attained. the design of fixture and the algorithm to achieve the fixture configuration is discussed.17 • • • Real time adaptive clamping forces so as to minimize part deformation. . etc. The last chapter is dedicated to discussion of the future work and the conclusion. In chapter 2. The remainder of this thesis will present the approach proposed in achieving this objective. Chapters 4 and 5 presents the conceptual clamp and support design.

the fixture configuration is analyzed for form closure to validate the designed configuration. The adaptability of the fixturing system is demonstrated in the successive sections using the configuration algorithm on different parts of various sizes and shapes. The locating and clamping devices are not allowed to interfere with the cutting tool or process. The faces (surfaces) requiring machining cannot be used for location purpose. The three locating faces must be orthogonal to each other. Finally.CHAPTER 2 DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND THERORETICAL DEVELOPMENT This chapter discusses the design of the flexible locating system and the algorithm developed to obtain the fixture configuration. Supporting pads should be located such that clamping forces are in opposite direction(s). There should be a suitable and sufficient area to place the locating and clamping devices. Whether it is a traditional dedicated fixture or a completely flexible reconfigurable fixture. • • • • • • • 3-2-1 locating principle. Since a flexible fixture design is inherently reconfigurable. The concept of fixture foolproofing is discussed and the capability of the designed system to accommodate such a feature is depicted. one must go through a fixture 18 . Supporting pins should be as far apart as possible. The flexibility design has different issues in keeping all the above principles intact. it has to satisfy the following general design principles. Fixture Design The fundamental design principles remain the same irrespective of the type of fixture. A flat surface is considered to be better.

1 shows an IFS control scenario for the new fixture design. However. reconfigurable and adaptive features of such a flexible fixturing system provide an enabling approach for acquiring a true IFS. Limited sensing and/or actuation.19 analysis each time its configuration changes for fixturing a new part. This is not desirable since it can change the orientation of workpiece during the machining process hampering the accuracy of the operation. In the prestaging of fixture configuration controller block. The fixture analysis addresses the following issues: • • • • • • Fixturing surface accessibility: geometry of fixturing surface and workpiece geometry obstruction(s). Based on the force and position . Must arrest all degrees-of-freedom of part: Workpiece stability. Figure 2. The resulting multi-use. and clamping forces). Sensitivity to force and position variations: Tolerances. The underlying fixture control is achieved using simple decoupled feedback controllers for pin positions and clamping forces (inner feedback loops). The main thrust of the research is to develop a new flexible fixture design that not only accurately locates parts but is capable of compensating for process induced holding variables. Determination of optimal fixture configuration: Locators and clamping forces. The above general design principles and fixture analysis issues together provide a governing basis for the research presented in this thesis. the prior knowledge of the process plan and the fixture configuration provides necessary information for optimizing the controller’s desired fixture configuration (desired pin and clamp locations. Performance evaluation and validation. during the cutting process sometimes the workpiece loses contact with the locating pins.

positioned via a rotary actuator and the third locating pin positioned in a slot on a moving jaw ( refer to figure 2.Y) movement for each locating pin.2). the pin and clamp positioning controller makes corrections in the fixture configuration.. Du added more flexibility to the system by achieving (X.Y) position determined with a rotary inputs combined with 2 DOF pin positioned via a linear slot on a moving jaw. In this thesis.. the output of the positioning controller and clamping force controller is fed to an IFS hybrid controller to resolve the conflicts.20 feedback and the dual workpiece deformation compensator algorithms. The IFS design of this finds its roots in the work done by Du et al. these corrections in position are augmented and the clamping force is modified to maintain locating pin and workpiece contacts as well as location accuracy. the controller may activate additional supports to insure the contacts and minimal part distortion or may send signals to operator or machine controller to change the process parameter. Wallack proposed a modular fixture with one degree of freedom using the principle of a bench vise where the research mainly focused on the generation of an automated algorithm for fixturing. To take care of such cases.2. In some cases the response of the two controllers can be conflicting. However. If the workpiece shows excessive deformation then the finite element analysis (FEA) model based algorithms are used to update clamping forces and/or pin locations. Using two pins with their (X. (1996) see figure 2. (1994) and Wallack et al. Du’s design allows planar variability in the part location. it is limited by its. the mechanical design of the fixture must be developed. Via the IFS hybrid controller. Based on the requirements of the process plan and operating conditions. To realize this IFS control scenario. a new design is developed that uniquely integrates various techniques into a new system approach. .

y.Process Plan Mfg.Y) Workpiece Deformation Compensator for Pin and Clamp Position Control Fixture Configuration Kinematics FEA model based Actual pin and clamp locations IFS Hybrid Control Fixture Configuration and Workpiece Optimal Fixture text Configuration Fixture Configuration Locating pins Clamps Support pins Desired clamping forces Clamping Force (x. operation Operation Sequence Process model and parameters delta locations Desired pin and clamp location Pin and Clamp Position Controller ( X.1 IFS control scenario .z) Controller Actual clamping force Workpiece Deformation Compensator for Clamping Force Control FEA model based Operating parameters 21 delta clamping force delta locations Pre-Staging of Fixture Configuration Figure 2.

fixture requires a minimal of four pins). . The design uses three locating pins and a clamp. New flexible fixture approach of this thesis is shown in figure 2.2 Comparison of the flexible fixtures range of part geometry variation and inability to achieve ‘form closure’ necessary for arresting all degrees of freedom (i.22 Locating pin Module 2 Workpiece Movable Module 1 Third pin a) Du (1994) three finger system Movable jaw Fixed plate Top plate Array of holes Fixed jaw Array of hole Intermediate plate Base plate c)New flexible fixture approach b)Wallack (1996) vise fixture Figure 2. Thus it has more flexibility is adapting parts of different size and shape.e.2 (c) which has two degree of freedom for the locating pins on the top moving plate.

the following key mechanical features are integrated into the design. Sliding mechanism. Automatic loading of the workpiece into the fixture. the new system provides two decoupled degrees of freedom for each pin. To achieve full automation and intelligence capabilities the FFS should possess the following characteristics: • • • • • • Many degrees of freedom to accommodate a range of family of parts. The core issue is to make each locating pin movable/changeable so that it can move in all possible directions accurately.’s (1996) research is the addition of greater flexibility in the system. yielding greater range of part geometry and ability to achieve form closure. That is. guideways system for linear displacement of array of pins/holes in two directions. Automated determination of optimal fixture configuration. Automated reconfiguration of fixture configuration by adjusting internal variables or assembling modules. . Modularity. he proposed three and four jaw vises to add more flexibility.. a rule of thumb in fixture design is that it should have 1/10th of the workpiece tolerance on the fixture which makes accuracy a critical issue. Automatic unloading and resetting of the fixturing system. Wallack introduced an array of holes on the bench vise with one degree of freedom. Note.23 The main area of improvement seen from Wallack et al. In addition. Later on. • • • Array of pins/holes. Evolving from Du’s design. Monitoring of fixturing process and dynamic adjustment of configuration for achieving the best manufacturing performance. the work in this thesis attempts to eliminate mechanical adaptability limitations.

i. (1a.. However. Referring to figure 2.3 The new design For a given set of plate positions. the center-to-center distance between the holes and the size of holes is a deciding factor in flexibility (i.e. These plates have an array of hole as the base plate.e. Y 1a 2b Intermediate Plate 1b 2b X Top Plates Base Plate Figure 2. this first design was simplified by keeping the 4 by 4 array of . ability to accommodate different size and shape of parts). the number of possible feasible fixturing combinations increases. 2b) there are two top plates that move in ‘Y’ direction. this need for finer resolution is redundant due the movable plates are added to the FFS as well as adds considerable cost and complexity. 1b) and (2a. As the center-to-center distance between the holes and the size of holes is reduced. the technical approach to the problem will now be discussed.24 In an attempt to add complete flexibility and accuracy to the fixture. Hence. finer resolution of pin locations. Technical Design Approach The first FFS design considered consists of a base plate which has an array of holes.3 there are intermediate plates which have movement in the ‘X’ direction on top of the base plate. On each of these plates.

. However.3).4 and Table 2. Thus.8. the design in this thesis decouples the pins relative position in the moving jaw (of figure 2.0 1.0 726 Part A 8. Array of Holes: Size and Spacing The most flexible system will be one having an array of ‘T’ slots instead of the array of holes. 1996] Hole size No.4) by introducing two top slides each with an .0 2. Before going into greater specifics of this revised design.6.1 depict how the size of holes/pins and the center-tocenter distance (λ x .5 8950 Part A 6.6.1 Fixture configurations and size of array [Wallack. Center-to-center distance of the holes as well as the diameter of holes must also be precisely maintained and is critical in order to achieve desired accuracy.0.0 1. To illustrate how the center-to center distance and the hole size effects the flexibility. an array of slots would be required in place of each row of pins. To increase the number of fixture configurations attainable. the possible combinations of the fixture increases.0 2962 Part A 6. λ y ) Object Part A 8. figure 2. The base plate array of holes was kept to provide supporting pins as well as for providing clamping options (figure 2. of Configuration Spacing(λ x .8.0.25 pins in the top plate eliminating those in the intermediate plate.0 2. In that case the locating pin can be positioned any where in the slots. λ y ) affect the possible feasible configurations for the one DOF fixture vice designed by Wallack et al.5 36835 The results show that as the size of the hole decreases and the spacing between the holes reduces. the size and spacing issues of the array of holes is first discussed.0. the decision on the size and spacing between the holes or slots is mainly based on the manufacturing feasibility.0. ( 1996). Table 2.

the locating pins take positions in the holes on the top slides. Second . flexibility is achieved by activating only required pins in the top plate. where the X dof is kinematically constrained with the moving of the intermediate plate and Y dof by moving a top plate on the intermediate plate. The staged array of pins/holes approach will add three-fold flexibility in the locating system. each pin has two degrees of freedom (dof). Thus.26 array of holes and one degree of freedom relative to the moving jaw. At the beginning of the operation.4 Part A –Wallack’s configurations The pins are then loaded into the determined locations. Thus any pin can be activated to achieve the desirable configuration. the top slides are positioned in a loading area where the necessary locating pins required for positioning the part are based on the prior knowledge of part geometry and the algorithm. In order to effectively use the staged array an algorithm is developed which determines the appropriate position of the locating pin with respect to fixed reference. The moving jaw in the thesis design is called the intermediate plate. For the design presented in this thesis. First. Part A Fixed Jaw Movable jaw An array of holes Figure 2. Next the top and intermediate plates are moved in ‘X’ and ‘Y’ direction to move the locating pins to a predetermined position.

The complete conceptual operation of the system is shown step by step in the figure 2. These images were just to show the adaptability of the proposed system. Figures 2.6 (a) to 2.6(c) and 2. Figure 2. illustrating the adaptability of system in fixturing variety of parts.3 was built.6 shows some of the possible fixture configurations for accommodating parts of different sizes and shapes. The parts were created on a rapid prototyping machine at the University of Florida.6(d) shows two different workpieces and the fixture configuration further illustrating the variety of parts that can be fixtured. Figure 2. (b) show the successive positions of the slides moved to accommodate the parts. Part Family Versus Fixture Size The family of different parts and the variety of parts geometries that can be accommodated on the fixture is subject to the following limitations: • Minimum distance between plates/pins.27 flexibility is achieved by moving the intermediate plates in the ‘X’ direction.5 mm. For analysis. Only planer objects will be considered for this research work. Third the flexibility is achieved by moving the top plate in the ‘Y’ direction.5. For convenience of manufacturing. At this point in the research. This system has many advantages. It has a very simple design and yet is high precision and reconfigurable. the work area is considered to be 300 mm x 150mm. With this configuration a large variety of part geometries can be accommodated. positively locating the part on the fixture base plate where the main limitation is in the part size. The figure 2. the x and y spacing between the holes was 5 mm and the diameter of the hole was 2. thus. . the determination of these images was the fixture configuration presented in these figures does not follow any algorithm. To prove this concept a prototype shown in figure 2.6 (e) shows the possible movement of locating pins to achieve the form closure.6.

Fixed Top plate (2) 1a 1b (a) Initial position (b) Intermediate plate moving (c) Top plate moving in other direction (d) Top plate moved into loading area (e) Locating pin positioned in hole (bottom perspective view with supporting structure removed) (f) Locating pin positioned in hole (top perspective view) Figure 2.5 Fixture operation . Diameter of the locating pin.28 • • Center-to-center distance between the holes.

29 1 1a 2a 1a 2a 2b 1b 2b 1b a) Initial position Pin 1a Pin 2a b) Top plates slide on intermediate plate 2a 1b Pin 1b Pin 1b Pin 2b 2b Pin 2a Pin 2b c) Pin arrangement to locate workpiece d) 3 pin location to locate bow blade 1a 1b Pin 2a 2a 2b Pin 2b Pin 4 Pin 1b e) 4 location pin to achieve form closure Figure 2.6 The fixture configurations .

The reason why the upper most left and right pin locations of the top plate were not chosen was to ensure that given the maximum part size. then the governing condition for the fixture and part size is that the maximum dimensions of the part (Lmax) shown in figure 2.7 for dimensional terminology. Lfix). hole locations would be available for clamping.30 Part Size: Quantification The following equations and inequalities quantify the maximum and minimum size of the family of parts that can be fixtured. let us assume that the locating pins are denoted by the shaded holes shown on the top plates and the two holes on the last row of the fixed plate and that the part does not extend outside the fixture base plate of dimensions (Wfix.7(b) must be both less than Lfix and Wfix. . The hole diameter is denoted by d. relative to the overall size of the fixture. This condition guaranties that all possible W (Lmax) is also less than both Lfix and Wfix since W (Lmax) <=Lmax. (Lfix) max= A-2*[2*a + (d/2)] (Wfix) max=B-[(2*+ (d/2)) + (a+d/2)] To have no restriction in the parts orientation on the fixture. the maximum dimension of the part that can be accommodated on fixture base plate is determined as follows. The array of holes is assumed to be uniformly spaced in the X and Y directions with a center-to-center distance is denoted by “a” with the array’s distance from the fixture components edge as shown in figure 2. With the pin locations with the top plates in their maximum distance apart. If any of above condition doesn’t satisfy keeping other condition satisfied there can be limited number of possible configuration achieved on the fixture.7. Refering to figure 2.

31 Holes used (Max size) B a a A a) Pin configuration and dimension terminology Wmax Lmax Wmin Lmin b) Dimension terminology -part Figure 2.7 Quantification of maximum part size .

center-to-center distance between the holes. The input to Zhuang and Goldberg’s algorithm is the dimensions of a planar object and the three sides to be used for the location. They considered a planar object and assumed horizontal clamping. Then depending on the available position for clamping. The algorithm assumes three locators and one clamp configuration. the size of locating pin. Then the position of the second and third locating pin is decided as per the algorithm. The algorithm gives the number of fixture configurations that achieves the form closure. As a starting point. Pin Location Algorithm The algorithm developed for this research is as described below. Wallack and Canny (1996) assumed a four locator and zero clamp algorithm. the feasible configurations of locators and clamps are formed. The locating pins however are not used as a bench vise as in the case of Wallack and Canny (1996). To completely locate the part.6. there are many possible combinations of holes in which the locating pins can be loaded that form feasible fixture configurations. the algorithm developed by Zhuang and Goldberg (1998) was selected and modified for the fixturing system presented in this thesis. As illustrated in the previous figures 2. Many algorithms are available in the literature that can be used for obtaining pin configurations. The output of the first module of the algorithm is all possible configurations of the three locating pins (triplets).32 Fixture Configuration: Pin Locations The next issue is to decide which pins/holes on the top plates should be used for the fixture configuration (optimal fixture configuration).5 and 2. wherein the major portion of the clamping force is absorbed by the locating pins. the location of the first locating pin is assumed. The optimal . Refer to appendix for greater details. and the size of array.

It is assumed that Ea makes contact with the locator at the origin of the array of holes on the fixed plate. The first locating pin is assumed to be on the fixed top plate. By translating and rotating Ea about the origin. For this research the second pin is also placed on the fixed . as the workpiece translates along the extent of Ea. only the first quadrant of this annulus is considered (see figure 2. Eb sweeps out a small area.8 Algorithm. To implement this algorithm the workpiece should have at least two straight edges. left for future work. Note if sides Ea and Eb share a corner. and Ec. for any orientation of Ea. the inner radius of the annulus goes to zero. The union of these areas as workpiece rotates. As shown in the figure 2. with an inner radius equal to the minimum distance between Ea and Eb and an outer diameter equal to the maximum distance between Ea and Eb. Eb sweeps out an annulus centered on the origin.9). That is.33 configuration can be found from these possible solutions through application of optimization theory.mathematical concept To eliminate equivalent fixtures. For generality these edges are denoted by Ea. The first locating side Ea will be in contact with this locating pin.8. Ea forms an annulus. Figure 2. the three edges of the workpiece to be used for the workpiece location are assumed known a prior. Eb.

Max Ea-Eb First quadrant Min Ea-Eb= 0 Figure 2. . which is on one of the movable top slides and has two degrees of freedom can be determined. the cutting forces acting on the workpiece. the workpiece edge may get deformed and chances of the workpiece changing its orientation are high. once these two pin positions are determined the third pin.possible position of second pin That is. In figure 2. This distance is decided by the designer depending upon the material. a similar annulus for the safety of the operation and stability of the workpiece any of the pins cannot be placed near the vertex of the planar object the cutting forces tend to move the workpiece. If edge Ec was chosen. Therefore. The determination of the third pin is selected from the subset of available Eb edge positions resulting from the second pin’s constraint as well as remaining within the top slide’s range.10 the distance ‘M’ is shown as the safe distance.34 top plate. if the locating pins are placed very close to the corner of the workpiece and the cutting force acting on the workpiece increases above a critical limit.9 Algorithm.

To achieve greater flexibility in clamping the second . Based on these calculations. The possible safe position of the second locating pin is in this area.35 The algorithm is modified to accommodate this safety. LEa is length of edge Ea. The clamp will be located on the second top plate and positioned in same way as the third locating pin. Consider the figure 2. the third pin can be positioned at the required position by moving the intermediate and top plate respectively in x and y direction by the calculated distance. LEb is length of edge Eb and M is the safe distance from the corner to protect the edge from damage.10 To find out the possible safe position of the pin 2 the min and max distances between the edge Ea and Eb is found as follows.11. Min ( Ea − Eb ) = ( M ) 2 + ( M ) 2 Max ( Ea − Eb ) = (LEa − M ) 2 + ( LEb − M ) 2 LEb Possible second pin position Possible position of first pin LEa Figure 2.11) shows the resulting swept area overloaded on the fixture design given in figure 2.10 Modified algorithm Where. Once the first and second pin positions are found. the new circles are drawn taking modified minimum and maximum distances as radii (see figure 2.

Also note.12 shows the step by step procedure adopted to implement the algorithm on the fixturing design presented in this thesis. in actuality friction will be there.3). As a process like drilling and broaching may produce the large forces acting in ‘Z’ direction. X 1a 1b LEa 2 LEa Y Figure 2. Though for form closure analysis it is assumed that the point contacts of the pins are frictionless. This is a very conservative assumption. in this research friction force is considered to be sufficient to hold the workpiece against the cutting force acting on the workpiece in positive Z direction.11 Swept area Following figure 2. The clamp mounted on the moving plate applies a horizontal/vertical force of workpiece squeezing the workpiece against the locating pins. this research uses clamping integrated with the pin.36 pin position is selected in such a way that the workpiece makes a sufficient angle with respect to x axis (defined in figure 2. The details are presented in chapter 4. .

12 Algorithm .37 1a Ea 1b Pin 2a 2 (a) First pin location 1b 2 (b) Possible positions of second pin 1a Pin 1a Eb 1b 1a Pin 2b Pin 2a 2 (c) Second pin position 2 (d) Third pin adjusted to position Locating pin on top plate acting as clamp (e) Complete configuration Figure 2.

Consider two cases presented here. it does not affect the precision orientation of the workpiece since they do not touch the workpiece. Without these foolproofing pins the workpiece can be loaded in different positions. Hence. Generally unskilled operators are the end users of fixtures. the function of a fixture is to hold the workpiece in a particular orientation in a fixed coordinate system. it would prevent the possibility of placing the workpiece wrongfully. Any damage can occur. the same workpiece. can be located in many different ways. one can imagine the disaster. Their job is to load the workpiece on the machine and start the machine. do not even touch the workpiece. To summarize. as show in case 2. Furthermore by using the 4th pin in a dual use mode. the clamping pin can serve as a foolproofing pin during . while the foolproofing pins guarantee the loading orientation of the workpiece. The sequence of images in figure 2. However. foolproofing pins.38 Fixture Foolproofing As stated before. Hence.13 demonstrates fixture foolproofing. The first case shows a fixture configuration where the three locating pins are in contact with the workpiece and the other two pins. The foolproofing pins shown in the figure 2. the foolproofing can be easily implemented in the present FFS design by placing the pin in any of the free holes on the top moving plates or the base plate. act as a safeguard.13. This is contradictory to the basic fixturing principal. The workpiece will have to be scrapped. It’s the designer’s job to make sure that knowingly or unknowingly the operator cannot make any mistake in loading a part in the fixture. That is. If the foolproofing pins are not used and the machining programs are written for case one workpiece orientation yet the workpiece is wrongfully loaded as shown in case two. with a given set of locators. the tool may break and/or the fixture components may break. fixtures that permit only one pose for the loaded workpiece are very desirable.

13 Fixture foolproofing Fixture Analysis Fixture analysis is an important issue in fixture design. a fixture analysis must be performed to validate that it does not violate any fixture design rules.39 part loading prior to clamp engagement. For accurate and correct .With Foolproofing Pins Top Slide Workpiece Foolproofing pin 2 Foolproofing pin1 Case 2. The following details the analysis used to determine the FFS configuration.Without Foolproofing Pins wrong orientation Figure 2. Fixture elements should be able to access desired faces and features for location and clamping. Case 1. For each candidate fixture configuration. implementation of such algorithms has been left for future work. For the design in this thesis. Kinematics The fixture elements (fixels) should not interfere with the proposed tool path nor should they restrict access to features being machined. There is extensive research ongoing for determining optimal placement of the foolproofing pin.

In this thesis the fixture provides 2 DOF (Movement in X and Y direction). it is assumed that all contacts are frictionless point contacts and hence the reaction force acting at the contact point is normal to the workpiece edge. Then the complete static equilibrium of the part on the fixture base plate is achieved when the summation of forces and torques acting on the part is zero. Therefore. τ = f × r = f x ry − f y rx . In force closure method.14. This is also referred to as force closure. force closure requires four simultaneous contacts in order to satisfy four simultaneous constraint equations. Force Analysis Force analysis is concerned with checking that the forces applied by the fixture elements are sufficient to maintain static equilibrium in the presence of cutting forces. To achieve force closure. translate in x and y provides 3 DOF and the fixturing system must provide at least one degree of freedom (Wallack. for planer workpieces at least four degrees of freedom must be constrained. 1996). To achieve a stable workpiece orientation. As defined by Wallack (1996) using only four pins the forces at contact points (3 locators and 1 clamp) induce four torques relative to a reference point on the object as shown in figure 2. The ability of the part to rotate. the information from the process plan and the output of the pin locating algorithm are assumed given a prior. That is. where the fixels can be introduced into the form closure algorithm as additional constraints. very little friction is assumed at the contact points. barely enough to hold the part in position.40 workpiece location the fixels should yield the orientation of the workpiece with respect to the reference datum surfaces.

Figure 2. λ 2 . Since the multipliers λ 1. τ wrenches. x   f 4. y  + λ 3  f 3. f x is the force acting in X direction and f y is the force acting in ‘Y’ direction and ( rx .  f1. ry ) is the (X. Considering the four f x . λ 2 . x   0            λ 1  f 2 .41 Where. λ 4 must lie within null space of M. they must be scaled multiples (ά) of the minors ( M 1 . and λ 4 such that λ i > 0 and satisfies the equations below. Note that if λ i becomes zero or negative. Y) distance of the point of application of the force on the workpiece relative to the arbitrary point. physically it means the workpiece has lost contact with the locating pin. y  + λ 4  f 4 . M 2 . λ 3 . M 4 ) .14 Force closure . x   f 2. f y . M 3 . y  =  0   τ   τ   τ   τ  0  1   2   3   4    Constructing a 3 by 4 matrix M consisting of the four contact vectors. λ 3 . x   f 3. force closure corresponds to finding four multipliers λ 1. y  + λ 2  f 2 . τ is moment of force about a arbitrary point. the (3 x 3) minors of M can be computed by removing the i th column from matrix M.

M 4 ) f 2. x f 3. x   f 4.15. x f 4. x  M =  f1. y τ2 f 3. four clamps zero locators. the Reuleaux method is selected as the analysis .42 f 4. y τ4 The M2. y τ3  f1. In this thesis. M 3 . y  τ4   ( λ 1. x f 2. 1890). Other researchers came up with theory that 7 pins are necessary for form closure for three dimensional objects. f 2. x f 3.g. Reaulexus (1890) first proved that the 4 point contacts are sufficient to arrest all degrees of freedom of the workpiece if it was assumed to be a planar object. y τ3 f 4. M3 and M4 are similarly defined. y τ2 f 3. shown in figure 2. only 3 pins and a clamp are sufficient to positively locate a planar part. λ 3 . despite the application of external wrenches (force and moments). λ 4 ) = ά ( M 1 .16 that by moving the plates on the base plate any part within the range of plate movements can be successfully accommodated on the fixture plate. three locators one clamp. Any motion of the object in form closure violates the rigidity of contacts (Reaulexus. M 2 . As per standard 3-2-1 locating principal. y  τ1  where. Form Closure Analysis It can be seen from the figure 2. Therefore the four vectors provide force closure if and only if the minors of M all have the same sign and none of them is zero. x M 1 = det f 2. λ 2 . For the four point contact method there can be many combinations of pin and clamp selections e. The definition of form closure is more than a century old and refers to constraining all motions of a body by using set of frictionless contacts. four locators and zero clamps..

(positive and negative rotational movement along Z direction and linear movement along negative X axis). To illustrate. It is assumed that the workpiece is placed directly on the prepositioned supporting pins fixture base plate. Pin 1 arrests . negative Y movement. The standard 3-2-1 principle is used for locating the workpiece. Thus in total.16. As shown.43 Z Ternary Reference Plane Locating Pin(s) Secondary Reference Plane Y X Primary Reference Plane Support pin(s) Figure 2. The two locating pins on secondary plane arrests three degrees of freedom. the form closure is now discussed in detail using the example as shown in the figure 2. The remaining degrees of freedom are arrested by a clamping system. An object in space has six degrees of freedom in total (× 2 to account for positive/negative directions).15 The 3-2-1 locating principle technique for proving form closure and the basis for obtaining locating pin coordinates. The third pin on ternary plane arrests one degree of freedom. (positive and negative rotational motion along x and y axis and linear movement in negative Z direction). The three pins on the primary surface will arrest two degrees of freedom. three locating pins and three supporting pins arrest six degrees of freedom. four pins are used for form closure.

X rotation. Thus.16 Fixture configuration Deformation Analysis Workpiece deformation is one of the most important issues. 1995). In this case. Pin 2 and 3 arrests movement in +Y and +/. Otherwise.X direction and movement along .rotational movement about Z axis. +/. the movement of workpiece in ‘+‘X direction is possible where to restrict this movement the pin 4 is used.Y rotation and – Z directions) arrest all degrees of freedom except for movement in +Z direction which can be arrested by a clamp. The concern is that a part may deform elastically or plastically under the influence of the cutting and clamping forces. pin 4 doesn’t serve any purpose assuming the radius of arc at the pin 1 is equal to the pin radius. Thus. .Y. Deformation is particularly a concern with flexible parts and with parts in which a great deal of material is removed (Hockenberger. the desired tolerances will not be achieved. these pins and the supporting plate (arrests +/. the fixture locating and clamping system should make sure that each part clamped on the fixture plate is located properly without leaving any degree of freedom. This analysis is not covered in this thesis.44 movement in +/. and is only mentioned here for completeness of identifying IFS requirements. Y Pin 2b Pin 4 Pin 1b Pin 2a X Figure 2. In summery.

Design constraints are considered individually and hence sometimes some constraints are contradictory. 1. it is necessary to check feasibility of the design. 2. In a manufacturing system. Fixture design has a close relationship with other activities (Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). The performance indices for the design verification/evaluation are • • • • • • • Number wrenches Clamping forces Workpiece equilibrium Workpiece stability Workpiece deformation Fixture dexterity Fixture set up time The next task is to automate the fixture so as to avoid the human intervention. The locating pin can be pushed in or popped out in the pin loading area. Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP)). The basic requirements from the locating pin are: it should be able to press fit in the top plate holes and yet should be able to be removed. But the major concern is to achieve it easily . Possible automation areas include • • • Pin activation (Pin popping up or Pin pushing mechanism). fixture verification is an integral part of the design process and must allow for the detection of any interference that may occur during the fixture construction. Verification of the design process is necessary for following reasons. Sliding motion of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ slides. 3. Too many factors are involved in the design process: it is very difficult to establish accurate analysis models. Selection of the holes on top plate to activate locating pins (Locating pin configuration).45 Design Verification/Evaluation As per Shinzadeh and Tie (1999).

integrating the clamping system and supporting systems are presented in Chapter 4. . In extreme cases. The fixture design aspects like fixture foolproofing were briefly introduced. the majority of the clamping force is absorbed by the locating pin.To summarize. The conceptual design of a locating pin can use the collet mechanism as shown in figure 2. The next chapter discusses the error analysis in which the inaccuracies of the guideways and their effect on positioning the locating pins is are considered. The locating pin will be hollow and the fluid pressure applied inside the pin will expand the pin making a press fit between the pin and top moving plate.46 without losing the accuracy. Figure 2. in this chapter the design of a new intelligent fixturing and the algorithm to determine the locating pin positions is discussed. As discussed earlier.17.17 Locating pin The conceptual design of other variants of fixturing system. The form closure and force closure analysis was described and the fixture design was validated via example using these criteria. Ultimately. A variety of parts were located on the prototype to depict the adaptability of the new design. the locating pin can lose its original shape and may lead to change in orientation of the workpiece. The other possible design of locating pin may include hydraulic mechanism. the error in the orientation of the workpiece due to these errors is analyzed.

The coordinate system is as shown in figure 3. Machine assembly load induced errors Thermal expansion errors Material instability errors Instrumentation errors Some errors have a period of hours or even years. The fixed coordinate system {0} is attached to the base plate. Sources of these types of errors include: • • • • • • • Geometric errors Kinematic errors External load induced errors. The above different sources of errors induce inaccuracy in the relative motion of guideways which is of particular concern in the FFS of this thesis. tooling and workpiece that occur relatively slowly. The error analysis in this chapter estimates the error in final position of the locator and its effect on the workpiece orientation. 1997). This means that the errors occur at a frequency much lower than the bandwidth of axes on the machine that can be used to correct the errors. An inaccurate locator position could change the orientation of workpiece in fixed coordinate system which in turn can cause inaccuracies in machined features.1. fixturing.CHAPTER 3 ANALYSIS Error Analysis Quasi-static mechanical errors are errors in the machine. Coordinate system {1} is attached to the intermediate sliding plate and coordinate system {2} is attached to the 47 . These errors include errors caused by thermal growth and material instability (Slocum.

Combining the effect of the positioning error with the location pin and the tolerances on the workpiece may aggravate the dimensional error. . The inaccuracy in the orientation of workpiece causes the shift in the center of the hole. There is movement only in X and Y directions. The error in X. Y and Z position of pin is determined. it is assumed that the machining operating is to drill a hole at the center of workpiece. depending on different inaccuracies. The following analysis is an attempt to characterize and evaluate the comprehensive effect of all these factors on the accuracy of the machining process. the Top Sliding Plate Y3 Intermediate Plate X3 X2 X1 {1} {0} Base Plate {3} Y2 {2} Y1 Yo Xo Figure 3. Assumptions: • The workpiece is a rigid body having no other geometric errors and is considered for the tolerance only. Once the inaccuracies are known for the location of the locating pin the inaccuracy in orientation of workpiece can then be determined using the algorithm that locates the workpiece. The locating pin is commanded to move by a specified distance in X and Y. For this analysis. Considering the planar object.48 top plate.1 Coordinate frame inaccuracies in “Z” direction can be neglected.

The waviness of the surface on guideways may cause the roll. if the intermediate plate is moving in X direction . These errors in guideways prevent the smooth movement of the sliding parts. For the typical case presented in this section the distance between the pins is 70 mm (¼ the maximum travel range). then because of the inaccurate guideways the slider can have rotational movement about Y axis which is defined as ‘pitch’. these are the three rotational errors about the axis and the three translational errors along the axis. Errors can be induced because of the error in parallelism. If a body is moving in a specific direction it can have six different types of errors.2 Rotational errors . The assumed errors are for precision guideways. The locating pins are placed as far as possible from each other so as to minimize the errors due to inaccuracy in contact surface. the rotational movement about X defined as ‘roll’ and the rotational movement about the Z is defined as ‘yaw’.49 • • Errors in two top moving plates have similar pattern. pitch and yaw in the sliding movement of slider. perpendicularity and • waviness in the guideways.1. As discussed above. Z Yaw Y Pitch X Roll Figure 3. As shown in the figure 3.

In the case of ballscrew actuated slides. δ y ( z ). The E is used to denote rotational error. The errors (x) are function of the sliding plate’s position along the X axis.g. and the sensor used. In general this type of error is caused by the geometric inaccuracies of the drive mechanism and feedback unit. measurement procedures required. δ x ( y ). 3) Straightness. parallelism (e. δ z ( y ) ). 4) Thermal drifts.g. EY ( Z ) ).g. lead errors of the ballscrew. 2) Angular errors (e. δ y ( y ) and δ z (z ) ). . The δ is used to denote the translational errors. Linear displacement errors are defined as the translational error motions of a machine element along its axis of motion (travel). δ x ( x). E x (x) is roll error of the slide E y (x) is pitch error of the slide E z (x) is yaw error of the slide δ x (x) is displacement error of the slide δ y (x) is Y straightness error of the slide δ z (x) is Z straightness error of the slide The error model is given by − E z ( x) E y ( x) δ x ( x)   1  E ( x) − E x ( x) δ y ( x)  1   z E1 = − E y ( x) E x ( x) 1 δ z ( x)    0 0 1   0 The error components in the above equations are divided into four groups with respect to characteristic similarities. E X ( X ). 1) Linear displacement errors (e..50 Terminology. Linear displacement errors.

e. The T21 is a top slide coordinate system with respect to intermediate slide coordinate system. associated with a changing temperature distribution within the structural loop due to internal and external sources. T30 is locating pin coordinate system with respect to the fixed base coordinate system. To characterize these errors mathematically the following transformation matrices are defined. The contributions of all three rotational errors to the resultant error are significant. parallelism. . Thus.2 as “a changing distance between two objects. irregularities in its geometry. In this thesis only the errors due to motion are considered (i. The T10 is an intermediate slide coordinate system with respect to base coordinate system. Straightness is the translational error of the machine element that can occur in either of the two directions orthogonal to a slides axis of motion (travel).6. Angular errors. The T32 is an locating pin coordinate system with respect to the top slide coordinate system. Thermal drift.. and coupling errors between the feedback unit and the ballscrew cause linear errors. Angular errors are rotational errors caused by geometric inaccuracies of the guideways and the misalignment in the assemblies of structural elements of the machine tool. Thermal drift is defined in ANSI standard B89. displacement. perpendicularity). Straightness and parallelism measurements. Yaw error is the rotational error of the slide around the axis perpendicular to the plane in which linear axis of motion (travel) lies. Roll error is the rotational error of the slide around the axis of motion (travel) and the pitch error is the rotational error of slide around the third orthogonal axis of slide.51 misalignment between its axis of rotation and its centerline.

The transformation matrix becomes 1 0 1 T2 =  0  0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 2 offset + X 2 movement  Y2 offset + Y2 movement   Z 2 offset + Z 2 movement   1  − E z ( y) E y ( y) δ x ( y)   1  E ( y) 1 − E x ( z ) δ y ( y )   Z E2 = − E y ( y ) E x ( y ) 1 δ z ( y)    0 0 1   0 The actual HTM with error for top moving plates with respect to the {1} coordinate system equals T21 * E 2 .e. So the homogeneous transformation matrix (HTM) is given by. There is no relative movement between the locating pin and the top slide hence there will not be any error model.52 The intermediate slide has only one degree of freedom. The {3} coordinate system is attached to the center of locating pin. 1 0 0 T1 =  0  0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1off + X 1movement  Y1off + Y1movement   Z 1off + Z 1movement   1  The actual HTM for the intermediate slide with error in the fixed {0} co ordinate system is equals T10 * E1 . i. The transformation matrix is . Now consider movement of top plate with respect to the intermediate plate. in X direction. It is assumed that a pin at the center of the top slide is actuated.

a b c d  e f g h  T30 =  error i j k l   m n o p where a = 1 − ez ( x) * ez ( y) − e y ( x) * e y ( y) b = −ez ( y) − ez ( x) + e y ( x) * ex ( y) c = e y ( y) + ez ( x) * ex ( y) + e y ( x) d = (1 − ez ( x) * ez ( y) − e y ( x) * e y ( y)) * X 3offset + (−ez ( y) − ez ( x) + e y ( x) * ex ( y) * Y3offset + (e y ( y) + ez ( x) * ex ( y) + e y ( x)) * Z 3offset + δ x ( y) + X 2offset − ez ( x) * (δ y ( y) + Y2offset + Ytravel ) + e y ( x) * (δ z ( y) + Z 2offset ) + δ x ( x) + X travel + X 1offset e = ez ( x) + ez ( y) + ex ( x) * e y ( y) f = −ez ( x) * ez ( y) + 1 − ex ( x) * ex ( y) g = −ez ( x) * ez ( y) + 1 − ex ( x) * ex ( y) h = (ez ( x) + ez ( y) + ex ( x) * e y ( y)) * X 3offset + (−ez ( x) * ez ( y) + 1 − ex ( x) * ex ( y)) * Y3offset + (ez ( x) * e y ( y) − ex ( y) − ex ( x)) * Z 3offest + ez ( x) * (δ x ( y) + X 2offset ) + δ Y (Y ) + Y2offset + Ytravel − ex ( x) * (δ z ( y) + Z 2offset ) + δ y ( x) + Y1offset .53 1 0 T32 =  0  0 1 0 E3 =  0  0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 X 3offset + X 3movement  Y3offset + Y3movement   Z 3offset + Z 3movement   1  0 0  0  1 So the actual HTM with error in fixed coordinate system is given by T31 = T10 * E1 * T21 * E 2 * T32 * E3 A Matlab program is written to calculate the final answer where the final actual HTM becomes.

ε x ( x). All the errors will depend upon the quality of the guideways. O = 0.00047 0.00035 0.6E-05 -2E-05 -1.00093 δy(x) 0 -0.1 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade A) X axis δx(x) 0 10 20 30 40 50 0 0.0027 arc seconds. The assumed errors for grade A are given as below. Typically for this case. ε z ( x).43E-06 Ez(x) 0 -1.00013 0.4E-06 -2.34E-06 2.6E-05 In the final matrix.00592 0.00068 0.4E-06 -1. P = 1 X 1offset = Y1offset = Y1movement = Z 1movement = 0 X 2 offset = X 2 movement = Y2 offset = Z 2 movement = 0 X 3offset = X 3movement = Y3offset = Y3movement = Z 3offset = Z 3movement = 0.9E-05 -1. ε x ( y ). ε y ( x). putting the corresponding values of δ x ( x). all the errors are of the guideways of a high precision coordinate measuring machine. Figure 3. X 1movement = 20mm. the guideways are assumed to be very high precision (Grades A and B were both considered in the analysis). δ z ( y ). n = 0. Table 3.4E-06 -1E-05 -2. Y2 movement = 90mm.54 i = −e y ( x ) + e x ( x ) * e z ( y ) − e y ( y ) j = e y ( x) * e z ( y ) + e x ( x) + e x ( y ) k = −e y ( x ) * e y ( y ) − e x ( x ) * e x ( y ) + 1 l = (−e y ( x) * e x ( x) * e z ( y ) − e y ( y )) * X 3offset + (e y ( x) * e z ( y ) + e x ( x) + e x ( y ) * Y3offset + (e y ( x) * e y ( y ) − e x ( x) * e x ( y ) + 1) * Z 3offset − e y ( x) * (δ x ( y ) + X 2offset ) + e x ( x) * (δ y ( y ) + Y2 offset + Ytravel δ z ( y ) + Z 2 offset + δ z ( x) + Z 1offset m = 0.00554 δz(x) 0 0. The XY squareness error is assumed to be -2. δ y ( y ). For this analysis.00391 0.2E-05 Ey(x) 0 -2. it is assumed that for the top plate the Xmovement=0 and Ymovement=30mm for this calculation. (Ziegert J.00114 0.00105 Ex(x) 0 5.0012 0.9E-06 2.00083 0.3 shows the effect of squareness error on the .. Z 1offset and Z 2 offset = 15 To evaluate the FFS. ε z ( y ) are substituted to calculate the overall pin location errors.91E-06 -2. δ z ( x).6E-05 -1.00113 0. ε y ( y ).00126 0.00121 0.5E-06 -2. 2002). δ y ( x). δ x ( y ).

54E-05 2.57E-05 3. So. Table 3. while positive errors denotes the under travel.00067 0.0003243) = -0.1E-05 3.57E-05 Ez(y) 0 -9.4E-05 -2.00515 0.8E-06 -1.88E-06 2.8E-05 Ey(y) 0 2.0003 0.00052 -0.9E-06 -6.00843 δy(y) 0 -0.00017 0.0003243mm and Y=54.7E-07 1.7E-07 -3.00004 0.09E-05 2.31E-06 -1.00391 0.38E-05 2.0024 0.6E-05 -2.00598 0.15E-05 Theoretical guideway Actual guideway Figure 3.00028 0.00006 -0.2 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade A) Y axis δx(y) 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0.3 Squareness error Neglecting higher order terms the x.99919 mm. The squareness errors are included in final error values.0003243 mm (over travel).00083 0.00059 δz(y) 0 0.13E-05 1.00729 0.6E-05 -2.00052 0. .00059 0.99E-05 2.3E-05 -2.00123 -0.00096 -0.00081425 mm (under travel).0003 -0.9E-06 3.00075 -0.55 positional accuracy. X=25.00799 0.31E-05 -1.00023 Ex(y) 0 -9.00181 0.00007 -0.4E-06 3. and ∆Y= (55-54.00036 -0. the positional error is ∆x= (2525.99919) =0.62E-05 2.9E-06 3.3E-05 -2.01E-05 3.00146 -0.91E-06 6. The L is the commanded travel of top slide in Y direction and Y is new Y axis due to error in squareness.y coordinates of the locating pin are obtained.3E-05 -2.00079 -0.86E-05 2. The negative error in this calculation denotes that the slides have over traveled the commanded distance.00431 0.00012 -0.

56 Table 3.3 Locating pin X positioning errors (Grade A)
X travel Y travel 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0 -0.0006156 -0.0020654 -0.0033227 -0.0049907 -0.0050152 -0.0060132 -0.007365 -0.0089785 -0.0098366 -0.0105558 10 -0.00151588 -0.00262622 -0.0045707 -0.0063227 -0.00848544 -0.00900464 -0.01049738 -0.01234387 -0.01445211 -0.01580484 -0.01701884 20 -0.00175 -0.00297 -0.00504 -0.0069 -0.00918 -0.00982 -0.01143 -0.01339 -0.01561 -0.01708 -0.01841 30 -0.00157 -0.00275 -0.00477 -0.00659 -0.00883 -0.00942 -0.01098 -0.0129 -0.01508 -0.01651 -0.0178 40 -0.00156 -0.00265 -0.00458 -0.00632 -0.00847 -0.00897 -0.01045 -0.01228 -0.01438 -0.01571 -0.01691

Table 3.4 Locating pin Y positioning errors (Grade A)
X travel Y travel 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0 0.000814252 0.000632622 8.85051E-05 -0.000444871 0.000708243 0.000344867 9.5248E-05 -0.000522625 -0.000496001 -0.001378125 10 0.000842 0.001657 0.001475 0.000931 0.000397 0.001551 0.001187 0.000938 0.00032 0.000346 -0.00054 20 8.29101E-05 0.000897171 0.000715563 0.000171465 -0.000361885 0.000791224 0.000427862 0.000178263 -0.000439585 -0.000412949 -0.001295064 30 -0.00347 -0.00266 -0.00284 -0.00338 -0.00392 -0.00277 -0.00313 -0.00338 -0.004 -0.00397 -0.00485 40 -0.00567 -0.00486 -0.00504 -0.00558 -0.00612 -0.00496 -0.00533 -0.00558 -0.0062 -0.00617 -0.00705

All travels and error values are in mm. Tables 3.3 and 3.4 show the error values in X and Y direction over the work space for two different grades of guideways. This information can be used to estimate the positioning errors in the locating pins, once the fixture configuration is decided. Knowing the X travel of top plate and Y travel of intermediate plate, the value of error corresponding to the particular row and column is the positioning error of the locating pin at that position. Table 3.5 quantifies the findings for each of the grades in terms of over max error and min error of the pin position versus that found in the guideways. As seen in this table the error in guideways is reflected in the pin position.

57 Table 3.5 Error quantification. Grade X error X error pin guideway position A 0.00126 0.01841 B 0.00189 0.02534

Y error guideway 0.0000315 0.001062

Y error pin position 0.00705 0.01059

Once positioning errors of the locating pin are found and evaluated, the effect of these errors on the orientation of workpiece in the fixed coordinate {0} system can be determined. A rectangular workpiece in which a hole is at the center is assumed. The machining process assumed for this operation is drilling on a simple vertical pillar drilling machine. Errors in the machine and part (except tolerance) will not be considered in this analysis. Focusing on the errors in the FFS it is assumed that there is no perpendicularity or parallelism error in the workpiece sides.

70 1 2

40 3 30 90 135 Figure 3.4 Fixture configuration for error analysis As shown in figure 3.4, consider a rectangular workpiece of dimension 90mm x 40 mm having tolerance + 0.005 mm. Now, since pin1 and pin 2 are on fixed plate, there is no − relative motion among slides and hence it is assumed that no errors exist in the

58 positioning of these locating pins. It is assumed that the fixed plate is machined perfectly, the center-to-center distance between the holes is maintained perfectly. From the figure 3.4, it can be seen that X error in positioning pin 3 is insensitive. It doesn’t affect the accuracy of the workpiece. So, Y directional inaccuracy in positioning pin 3 will change the position and /or orientation of workpiece. The workpiece is either moved in positive or negative direction along the Y axis, moving the center coordinates of central hole either along ‘+’ or ‘-‘ Y.
Pin 1 Pin 2

Ideal position

Error due to eccentric pin Pin 3

Actual center

Error due to ovality in locating pins All dimensions are in mm.

Desired center

Positioning error of locating pin (Including part tolerance i.e. 0.005mm)

Figure 3.5 Mechanical errors Referring to figure 3.5 Consider that the guideways are Grade A and that the intermediate slide is moved along X by 20 mm and top slide is moved by 90 mm in the Y so the pin 3 is theoretically placed at (45mm, 115mm) in the fixed coordinate system. The locating pin diameter is assumed as 10mm. The ‘Y’ error for these coordinates is
0.0001714 mm (under travel). Now, consider the part is produced on upper tolerance level

i.e. 90.005mm. Pins 1 and 2 are assumed to also have the same circularity error as pin 3.

This case assumes that pin 2 have centers off by 0. Consider that the pins are elliptic in shape.005 mm). the hole center will be off by (0. Case 2.00517) mm from the reference edges. Ytoterror = . Case 1. In the first case it was assumed that the pins on the fixed plate have no inaccuracies.005 mm.5 and are eccentric with the hole axis positively.005 X toterror = −0. error = Ydesired .995 mm).5 for ‘X’ directional error. has error in circularity by 0. as shown in figure 3.002 mm in X direction.Yactual Ytot .. Consider the workpiece is produced on its lower tolerance limit (i. X total error = X desired − X actual X toterror = X circularity error + W / Ptolerence X toterror = 0. 39.error = Y positioning error + Yconcentricity error + Yovality error + Workpiecetolerence Neglecting the Yovality error .010.59 Further more assume that the locating pin3 is eccentric with the locating hole in the top plate by 0. it will affect the ‘X’ positioning accuracy of workpiece. If the locating pins have circularity error as shown in figure 3. 90.005 − 0.005 Ytoterror = .00017 + 0.005 + 0.005 mm.010mm So. the total Y error will be Ytot .00517 mm Now consider the figure 3.5. .005 + 0.e.e. 0. The error in circularity of the pin will affect the machining accuracy only if their major axis is not parallel to Y axis. If it is assumed that workpiece is produced on the upper tolerance level (i. In all other cases the workpiece will posses the error in position along positive Y axis.

for this case for the pins on the fixed plate the Y direction is insensitive. In this case the X off in the pins will change the orientation of workpiece as shown in the figure 3. pin1 has +0.6.6 Case 2: combined mechanical errors affecting orientation Consider the figure 3.001mm error).e.60 The error in the Y direction may not affect the positional accuracy.002mm ( i. The model includes positioning error in locating pin 2 on moving top plate. As shown in the figure 3.6 where the dotted features show the ideal case without the errors. The features in solid lines show the case with errors. The ‘X’ error being very small is neglected in this case.6 the total Y error is derived as . Hence. For this case assume that the two pins on the fixed plate have an offset of 0. Figure 3.001mm error and pin 2 has -0.

45503E-06 2.00189 0.00035 0.001185 -0.000171 + 0.005mm.00144 -0.007038 0. So total ‘Y’ directional error is given by Ytotalerror = Y positionalerror + Yconcentricityerror + Yerror Ytotalerror = 0.000648 -0.47354E-05 -3. The total X and Y errors in both cases denotes the X and Y errors .10317E-05 -3.00006 0.92857E-05 3.00265E-06 2.49206E-05 -3.002715 0.001 / 35) Yerror = 25 × Sin(θ) Yerror = 0.36508E-06 9.00078 -0.001245 0.92857E-05 -4.000156 -0.52778E-05 -3.0036 0.001245 0.00078 0.000105 -0.91005E-06 -3.97619E-05 Ey(y) 0 4.47354E-05 Table 3.56481E-05 3.35714E-05 -2.74603E-06 -5.8373E-05 -3.0460mm Table 3.005865 0.00888 0.31085E-05 3.000705 0.001845 -0.00121 0.006896 0.01852E-05 -1.09259E-06 4.001674 δy(x) 0 -0.51058E-05 5.00189 Ex(x) 0 8. assume the error in concentricity on pin 3 as 0.7 Assumed errors for Y travel (Grade B) Y axis δx(y) 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0.63757E-06 -5.9828E-05 3.27381E-05 Ey(x) 0 -3.00114 0.05556E-05 -2.45767E-06 -2.0409 Ytotalerror = 0.00068 0.56481E-05 -3.00009 -0.75397E-05 4.61 Sinθ = (0.63757E-06 Ez(x) 0 -2.00026 0.00219 -0.00897 0.85582E-05 5.00035 Ex(z) 0 -1.96429E-05 -3.85582E-05 -4.010935 0.0001714mm.6 Assumed errors for X travel (Grade B) X axis δx(x) 0 10 20 30 40 50 0 0.63757E-06 -1.20106E-05 2. The above two different cases demonstrate the affect of the positional errors on the workpiece orientation.009972 δz(x) 0 0.005 + 0.000195 0.002 / 2) / 35 θ = Sin −1 (0.0409mm The Y positional error in the locating pin on top plate is 0.011985 0.5873E-05 4.45503E-06 -3.00045 0.82011E-06 3.29233E-05 3.91005E-06 5.001005 0.002034 0.91005E-06 5.000885 0.82011E-06 -1.63757E-06 -1.04101E-05 -2.72884E-05 All dimensions are in mm.0118132 δy(y) 0 -0.001062 δz(y) 0 0.85582E-05 Ez(y) 0 -1.2381E-06 3.00042 0.001125 -0.00045 -0.0012 0.00927 0.

0096907 -0.003571712 -0.00717 -0.006414765 -0.01994259 -0.0069033 -0.0007778 -0.0072253 -0.00847696 -0.00993 -0.024745712 40 -0.02409 -0.01908 -0.0052354mm Table 3.01157538 -0.0045469 -0.013545 10 -0.0132108 -0.0002354 + 0.02266949 20 -0.02534 30 -0. Next. Ytotalerror = 0.01584687 -0. the dependency of the positional accuracy on the accuracy of the guideways is demonstrated.013668506 -0.00188168 -0.0002350) and the difference in Ytotal error is (0.009165527 -0.0123022 -0. That is the positional and orientation accuracy largely depends upon the accuracy of the guideways selected for the system.0132 -0.00322363 -0.005 Ytotalerror = 0.01692591 -0.002688762 -0. the following error analysis results in X and Y error as given below.012996827 -0.017486571 -0.004317688 -0.02159318 -0. This error is very close to the error found for Grade A guideways.02356027 -0.01829544 -0. Y) pin displacement difference between guideway errors is (0.00589644 -0.021800548 -0.00170382 -0.00263 -0.02227 -0.017046156 -0. To add more depth to the study the x and y positional errors are determined for different grade of guideways (Grade B).01263946 -0.62 of the center of the hole. the errors using grade B guideways is used to further illustrate the propagation of errors for which the IFS must compensate. For Grade B guideways with the same pin dimensions and travel are used in the prior cases. Y positional error for grade B guideways is 0.000065mm.0052354mm.023303194 -0.0027085 -0.02454975 So.00517) 0.014170033 -0.00433 -0. Comparing these results to Grade A cases. It should be noted that for the arbitrary chosen (X.005 + 0.005235 -0.8 Locating pin X positional errors (Grade B) X travel Y travel 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0 -0.018674741 -0.012434192 -0.000114 0.009789276 -0.0100276 -0.021482361 -0.01782 -0.005 − 0.007099627 -0. .01444 -0.

000775309 0.00719 -0.00716 -0.001165074 0.000245646 -0.63 Table 3.01059 .000672597 0.0075 -0.00912 -0.00916 -0.001062362 0.001323935 0.00835 -0.00624 -0.000976813 -0.00783 -0.000517297 0.000953323 0.000850717 0.00553 -0.00587 -0.002141338 30 -0.00863 40 -0.000313 0.000132756 -0.000235407 -0.00516 -0.000807944 -0.000620076 0.001606 0.00231 0.00933 -0.00822 -0.000142867 -0.000873956 -0.00713 -0.00625 -0.001088 0.000112 -0.00638 -0.00729 -0.00010254 0.000281 0.001231 0.001939 0.001221 0.002244195 10 0.00736 -0.00532 -0.000705107 -0.001221377 0.00821 -0.002151 0.9 Locating pin Y positional errors ( Grade B) X travel Y travel 0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 0 0 0.00116 20 0.

This chapter presents the design of an integrated approach for automating the pin and supporting pin engagement and the clamping of the workpiece. As discussed previously. However. clamps are introduced to take care of these forces so as to not allow any small movement of workpiece. barely enough to restrict all possible movements under the action of cutting forces. are normally absorbed by the locators. but to extend and retract them from holes within the top plate with precision.CHAPTER 4 CLAMPING SYSTEM In the previous chapters. this design requires an automated means to not only move the pins into their locating positions with the workpiece. in order to realize an IFS. the clamping force must not be so large that it causes workpiece deformation. Thus. the supporting pins and clamping mechanism need to be designed to work in concert with the locating pins mechanism. the clamping force should be optimum. At the same time. a new design of FFS mechanism for positioning locating pins was presented along with a demonstration of its adaptability in locating a variety of parts and its ability to locate them accurately. Selection of Clamping Positions The basic purpose of the clamp is to prevent workpiece movement during the machining operation. The machining (cutting) forces are in general complicated and time varying where the major cutting forces. The basic principles that are followed in selecting clamping positions are as given below. 64 . It is the remaining forces that cause the unexpected movement of workpiece during the machining. In addition.

this indicates that workpiece is no longer in contact with corresponding locators and the fixturing is considered unstable. Place as apart as possible. Locate near the workpiece geometric border. The interference between fixturing components and the cutting tool. the preliminary clamping positions can be selected. . Once the supporting and locating positions are determined.65 • • • Clamps should be located in such a way that the clamping force is directed towards the locating components without deforming the workpiece. Positive reaction forces at locator contact point are required to ensure that the workpiece maintains contact with all the locators from the beginning of the cut to the end. There can be three types of interferences. preliminary clamping positions are then investigated on the admissible set of clamping surfaces. 2. If one or more of the reaction forces should go to zero. 3. A negative reaction force at the locator is physically not possible. the clamping system in this thesis is designed to meet the following criteria. and the cutting dynamics. Clamps are positioned in such a way that they do not interfere with the operation of the machine. The interference between fixturing components themselves. intermittent. based on these rules. The interferences between fixturing components and fixture loading/unloading tools. So. the direction and kind of cutting forces (constant. Taking all these rules into consideration. The clamping positions are further adjusted to make sure that clamping is collision free. Other rules are workpiece and machining operation specific such as: the particular area that may not be used for clamping. Hence fixturing stability criterion is considered here and it states that all the reaction forces at the locators must be positive during the entire machining process. • • • Interference free. 1. impact force).

depending on the available positions for clamping. and size of array. the feasible configurations of locators and clamps are formed (discussed at length in Chapter 2). i. the size of locating pin. for simplicity. The clamp is considered to have a point contact. it is assumed that there will not be friction between the locating pins and workpiece although in practice friction will be present. Once the position of the three locating pins is found. But in actual practice.e. The input to Brost and Goldberg’s system is the planar object. This research assumes both horizontal and vertical clamping wherein the maximum force is taken by the support pins and locators. When the workpiece is rested against the locating pins this fourth pin moves to squeeze in the workpiece against the locating pins. Then. Utilizing the algorithm developed by Brost and Goldberg (1996). cutting force and process dynamics. For the form closure analysis. locating surfaces/edges. The major drawback of all the current designs is they assume the friction force and the squeezing force is enough to hold the workpiece. This is a conflicting ideal case. while on the other hand the friction force is used to hold the workpiece. four locators. irrespective of the cutting operation. three locators and one clamp are assumed. the fourth pin on the second top moving plate can be used as a horizontal/vertical clamp. first it is assumed that the clamp is a frictionless point contact. Thus.66 Clamping System Ideal Case To arrest all degrees of freedom of planar object four frictionless point contacts are required. There can be different combinations of these four point contacts like three locators and one clamp. the four frictionless contacts are achieved to arrest all degrees of freedom. there can be a . This research handles this with a different approach. Also it is assumed. center-to-center distance between the holes. four clamps. four point contacts are sufficient to hold the workpiece.

But due to change in the stiffness of the workpiece during the machining operation. This type of traditional clamping may not be suitable for the ‘Intelligent’ fixturing. the clamping force is applied at one point which can be high enough to distort the workpiece. which says that the clamp should be located near to the point of application of the cutting force. Most of the times in machining operations. The stiffness of the workpiece changes after this operation. Hence. In the traditional case. Another issue to be taken care in the modern fixturing is the changing workpiece stiffness. which again can hamper the tolerance and surface finish of the workpiece due to elastic/plastic deformation. the first operation is roughing operation where in the majority of the material is removed. The other issue is the clamping force applied on the workpiece may not be optimum. In practice. Considering all the locations where the drilling is going to be done. is done considering the maximum cutting forces acting on the workpiece.67 number of operations carried out on the workpiece where the cutting force can act on various different points. which remains the same through out the operation. But this is contradictory to the clamping principle.g. The requirements of clamping system in intelligent fixturing are .. initial clamping. the clamping should be flexible enough to adjust the clamping force during the operation. the clamping force is applied. in the case of the drilling operation : the tangential cutting force and the axial force can act on different locations depending upon the locations of the holes. in the later part of the machining process this force may be more than required and can distort the workpiece. at the beginning of the operation the clamp is placed at some point and considering all the cutting forces. e.

the FEA model based algorithm’s feedback modifies the clamping force.68 • • • Automated/less manual interference. Real time control over workpiece distortion due to clamping force. position of locating. The feedback device checks the actual clamping force acting on the workpiece and makes necessary changes if required. In this thesis. Clamping System As mentioned earlier. Depending upon the availability of free holes on the base plate and based on the feedback from the system additional supports may be activated to reduce the deformation of the workpiece. The conceptual block diagram of clamping system is shown in figure 4. the clamping force required to hold the workpiece is decided. if the forces acting on the workpiece go beyond the limit for deforming the workpiece. Based on the knowledge of the machining process beforehand. locating pin and support pin are presented as a multiuse. These locating pins with all . fixture configuration. all the current designs assume that the friction force at the contact points between the locators and workpiece is sufficient to hold the workpiece against the forces acting in ‘Z’ direction. two integrated conceptual designs of the locating pin which can act as a horizontal/vertical clamp. Adjusting clamping force as per the change in workpiece stiffness. supporting and clamping devices. the changes in the stiffness of workpiece may be predicted and accordingly the clamping force can be adjusted to the predetermined optimum clamping force. speed. The controller sends appropriate commands to the clamping system. Once the machining process starts. But for operations like drilling the axial force may be high enough to lift the workpiece from fixture. During the process. the FEA model based sensory data from the fixture is continuously fed back to the control system.2. Based on the machining process and parameters like feed.

the locating pins vertical clamp extends above the locating pin section to allow vertical clamping. The same pin can also be used as a support.69 other features add more flexibility in the clamping/locating and supporting system. Then the central plunger is pushed up using the . Support Pin Vertical Clamp Surface used for Location and horizontal clamping Locating Pin Collet area Figure 4. which basically squeezes the part against the locating pins. the clamp is activated to apply the vertical clamping force. It is popped out of the base plate. If the pin is to be used only for location purposes then the vertical clamp is remains in its lower position.1. Once the workpiece is located by the locating pins and a horizontal force is applied by moving the top moving plate. Activating hydraulically. The first design is presented in figure 4. The outer diameter can be used as a horizontal clamp. The diameter of the top portion of the clamp (vertical clamp) should be greater than diameter of locating pin but less than the diameter of the collet area which fits in top plate.1 Flexible clamp Depending upon the direction of liquid flow in hydraulic system the clamp moves axially up or down.

z) Controller Actual clamping force Workpiece Deformation Compensator for Clamping Force Control FEA model based Operating parameters 70 delta clamping force delta locations Pre-Staging of Fixture Configuration Figure 4.Y) Workpiece Deformation Compensator for Pin and Clamp Position Control Fixture Configuration Kinematics FEA model based Actual pin and clamp locations IFS Hybrid Control Fixture Configuration and Workpiece Optimal Fixture text Configuration Fixture Configuration Locating pins Clamps Support pins Desired clamping forces Clamping Force (x. operation Operation Sequence Process model and parameters delta locations Desired pin and clamp location Pin and Clamp Position Controller ( X.2 IFS clamping control concept .y.Process Plan Mfg.

One locating pin will be placed on top moving slide.4 Fixture configuration The fixture configuration is chosen in such a way that two pins are located on the fixed top plate. which is used as a clamping pin. The optimal clamping force is defined as the minimal force required for holding the workpiece under the action of cutting and clamping forces . Based on the process model. The fourth pin.71 hydraulic pressure.3 Locating pins and clamp. fixturing configuration F Fy Fx 1a 2 1b Pin 4 F= Horizontal clamping force applied by Locating pin/clamp Figure 4. the optimal clamping force is decided. is placed on the fourth moving plate. It squeezes the workpiece against the locating pins. Once the workpiece is located against the locating pins the fourth (clamping pin) is moved against the workpiece to apply horizontal clamping force. The plunger top cap acts as a support. So these three pins are treated as locating pins. Figure 4.

The actual clamping force is compared with theoretical clamping force derived from the process model. Ideally supports should be placed right below the clamp or vise versa. The corrective signals are passed to the controller. the additional supports are planned at strategic places. Though the use of hydraulics. So. The locks provided in the top plate separately lock the Z clamp and locator from movement. The hydraulic pressure can be applied at the bottom of the plunger/clamp. Depending upon the requirement and to avoid the distortion of workpiece due to clamping force.72 without deforming the workpiece. But in order to limit the workpiece deflection the additional supports are given. this FFS has greater degree flexibility and clamping capacity and is human intervention free. Generally supports are placed as far as possible from each other and at the same time they should not be so far that the workpiece can deflect due to its self weight and clamping force. This design can be used as a locating pin and /or Z directional clamp. The workpiece is rested on the top plate. the additional supports can be given to the workpiece from pins located in the base plate.5 is better suited for IFS. which will activate the actuator to make the necessary adjustment in the clamping force. As per the requirement. . Modified Clamp Design The design presented figure 4. The base plate of the fixture has an array of holes. theoretically the workpiece should have only three supporting points (as three points form a plane). For IFS implementation the sensor is to be placed strategically on the locator which will sense the applied clamping force on the workpiece. The supports can be hydraulically actuated pins from the base plate to support the workpiece. At this condition the top surface of the clamp and top face of top plate are flushed with each other.

5 Modified clamp design-original position .73 Z clamp Locating pin Top plate Locator lock Plunger lock Pressurized fluid Clamp flushed with top surface Top plate Figure 4.

74 Z clamp Locating pin Top plate Both locks removed Pressurized fluid ` Figure 4.used as locator Figure 4. the hydraulic pressure is maintained in the bottom chamber by closing the return valve.6 Modified clamp. The two locks are removed and the hydraulic pressure is applied at the bottom of the plunger. The fluid pressure presses the clamp and locator to move upwards.6 shows the usage of clamp as a locator. After reaching the final position. The clamp is .

The clamping force also depends upon the shrink fit between the pin and plate.7). Thus. The vertical clamping force depends upon the diameter of the top portion of the clamp. optimal clamping force can be adjusted by varying the hydraulic pressure. the more the clamping force can be applied on the workpiece. For both systems the “Z” directional force depends on the diameter of “Z clamp”. Higher the fit size. the fluid pressure is applied on the other side of plunger moving the Z clamp in the opposite direction and holding the workpiece against the fixture base plate.7.75 used as a locator in this position. Next in figure 4. however it greatly enhances the adaptability of the FFS for IFS implementation. . The plunger will move in Z direction. the stroke of hydraulic cylinder used (refer to figure 4. This second design has higher degree of complexity compared to the first design. But the limitation on the diameter is it can not be greater than the diameter of pin in the plate. It pushes up the plunger above the top surface of top plate. The clamping force can be maintained by maintaining the hydraulic pressure on plunger. Hydraulic pressure is applied at the bottom of plunger. for Z clamping the limitation of the system is. The higher is this diameter greater the clamping force that can be applied on the workpiece. Another constraining factor is the safe hydraulic pressure that can be applied on the locator and plunger and the material properties of the clamp (tensile strength. and the workpiece can be pushed under the Z clamp. shear strength and bending strength). The clamping force can be varied by varying the hydraulic pressure. as per the IFS controller concept. Also. The new design integrated into the locator positioning mechanism of prior chapters is completely automatic and adaptable for intelligent clamping system. Then. the plunger lock is removed but the locator lock is kept in the position.

76 Z clamp Maximum height of workpiece for designed stroke Locator Locators lock. in Plunger lock removed Pressurized fluid Figure 4. .7 Modified clamp – clamp in action.

Lastly.77 So. limitations of the clamping system such as the clamping force and the size were presented. . the two conceptual designs of clamping system were presented. Following these needs as design criteria’s for the clamping system. The next chapter discusses the supporting system. An analysis on the support positions is provided and a conceptual algorithm to rearrange support positions in case of workpiece deformation is described. in this chapter the basic principles used in design of clamping position were discussed. The IFS need of the clamping system was discussed.

Generally the locating requirements are fulfilled first before deciding the clamping. Once these results are achieved. deformation due to elastic and plastic contact region and deformation between the fixels and workpiece surfaces are significant. Under normal clamping and machining. This deformation should be given prime importance while planning a fixture. The machining accuracy of workpiece is greatly affected by the workpiece bending and contact region deformation. cutting forces acting on the workpiece are assumed the input to the deformation analysis. Deformation analysis and interference checking is necessary to determine the best FFS configuration. The output of this analysis will be the deformation of a workpiece with the given fixture configuration and cutting forces. For initial fixture design. But still it is very important to study the deformation pattern and reposition the supporting and clamping system. e.. placement of supports and clamps. and heuristics as discussed in the previous chapters. The fixture configuration is planned depending upon the basic design principles such as standard 3-2-1 locating principle. 78 . The place where critical deformation occurs may require the designer to change the fixture configuration. the repositioning of the supporting and clamping system is done. Heuristics and the analysis results are mainly used in reallocation of supports. which is basically rearranging the supports and clamp positions.CHAPTER 5 SUPPORT SYSTEM The part tolerance depends on the deformation of the workpiece during machining.g.

1 Support position analysis . If the workpiece has undesirable deformation then it is necessary to redesign the fixture. Sometimes to restrict the deformation of workpiece.79 So. The original fixture configuration. clamping systems the geometric reasoning mechanism is important aspect. Generally two kinds of workpiece deformation is observed during the fixturing set up and process operations: 1) deformation on the contact regions caused by fixturing forces (mainly because of clamping forces). locating. The 3-2-1 principle is kept intact while arranging the supports and clamping position. The maximum deformation at any point of the workpiece is considered as the critical deformation. more than three supports are used. Both these factors affect the machining accuracy of workpiece but the second kind of deformation has major adverse effect on the accuracy of fixturing and processing. Figure 5. in deciding the best possible supporting. 2) bending of the workpiece caused by cutting forces. It is highly recommended that workpiece have deformation within limits during the machining operation. and load position are reconsidered in such cases.

The support positions should not be located in geometrically constrained regions. which is out of the limit. The support should be placed near to the point of maximum (critical) deformation. it can be said that maximum deformation occurs at a region away from the support positions. Logically.80 Generally. 2. Depending on these facts. Move the support positions towards the critical deformation position. For stability of the workpiece. These two rules are self contradicting. the basic rules for support positions can be developed. The second rule of thumb is that the support should not be so close to the point of maximum deformation that it hampers the stability of the workpiece. The support positions should be moved along the border of the adjustable area (of the supporting surface) of the workpiece. it is observed that for prismatic workpiece the critical deformation occurs at the corners or near the mid-edge or at the position at which the load is applied. Excerpts of these basic rules from their research work are presented as follows. So. the other constraint may apply like some area of workpiece may be machined and can not be used to support. Roy and Liao (1998) developed their algorithm to plan the positions of supports. 3. In addition to these rules. if the deformation analysis or intuition of the designer depicts the point of maximum deflection. . the support points should be moved towards the point of maximum deflection. the designer has to find the best trade off. It is based on heuristics and the general principles in fixture design which have been followed for quite long time. the supports should be as far as possible. For stability the supports should be placed somewhere out side the area around the center of gravity. depending on the load position and its relationship with the supporting positions. 1.

Here different ways that can be used to form a good support are suggested. . Based on these rules the support positions are rearranged to have a minimum workpiece deformation. like workpiece stability and other geometric constraints the area of this triangle is tried to be minimum. The other way is to use the vacant holes in the bottom plate. Raise the supporting pins through these holes using hydraulic or pneumatic system. This system can also be binary actuated. Basically. Once these pins touch the workpiece lock the pins to this position.81 They formed triangles connecting the two farthest support points and the point of maximum deformation. With the other constraints in tact. the supports were moved towards the point of maximum deformation following all other constraints.

Future work. Many researchers have proved that during machining process due to change in the stiffness of workpiece the initial clamping force may distort the workpiece. Adding intelligence to the system is very important issue. have been integrated into a unique mechanically adaptable design. the contributions made by this research work to manufacturing industry are a complete picture of an IFS. The definition of optimal clamping force is the minimum clamping force 82 . To conclude. which can be future work. There are many areas where intelligence can be added to the base work presented in this thesis. Clamping System.CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK The objective of this research was to enhance the mechanical adaptability of fixturing system design such that the key characteristics of Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS) can be attained. To achieve the flexibility in fixturing the different techniques such as the array of holes and bench vise. Intelligence can be defined as the real time changes made in the system in order to achieve the required configuration. and the conceptual design of clamping/supporting system. a design of a unique flexible location system that has capability to attain the features of IFS. the supporting algorithm to achieve the fixture configuration. The conceptual clamping and supporting system was presented in this research work demonstrates the ability of design to accommodate the current needs of manufacturing environment to enhance the technology. It was demonstrated successfully that designed system can handle variety of parts of different size/shapes and comply with all the needs of IFS.

• In general the first cut is roughing cut wherein maximum amount of material is removed. This can be a real time adaptive system. Obviously the cutting forces in this operation are maximum. Different processes can be studied depending on the requirement. Another way is to mount the sensors on the supports. And in general the clamping is done considering this cutting force. • Locating pin popup mechanism. But as per the requirement of machining process once the most of the material at the center is removed in drilling and boring operation the workpiece stiffness changes drastically. The forces acting on the workpiece and deformation of workpiece under the action of these forces can be sensed through the sensor. Once the configuration of pins is decided there can be a separate arrangement for pin activation called “Pin Loading” mechanism. the machining force can be estimated during different stages of the machining process and clamping forces can be adjusted accordingly. The initial clamping force will be too much for this changed stiffness workpiece.83 needed to overcome the cutting force and workpiece weight. Only required pins are . The process models can be generated and integrated into the controller. For example machining thin walled cylinder out of solid cylinder. Intelligence can be introduced in the fixture by adjusting the clamping force with corresponding changes in the cutting force and stiffness of workpiece. This is definitely not good for the accuracy of machining operation. The workpiece is clamped considering the original stiffness. But during the finishing process the amount of material removed is much less compared to roughing cut and hence the cutting forces. So even cutting force may vary during operation. The top plate will move outside the intermediate plate on guideways provided in the pin loading area. Based on the knowledge of the cutting parameters before hand. which can deform the workpiece. the clamping force can be adjusted to ‘optimal clamping force’. Pins can be loaded from top as well as from bottom. During machining process the stiffness of workpiece changes. Accordingly.

locating pins fail to touch the workpiece. The supporting pins will raise from these holes. The locating pin will be moved to touch the workpiece till the force acting on pin reaches the required value. Some times (as shown in error analysis) due to the tolerance and errors in the motion. Once the pins touch the workpiece the ‘Z’ movement of pins will be locked maintaining the constant pneumatic/hydraulic pressure on pin. Micro level adjustment: Once the configuration is decided the next task is to load the workpiece in fixture. all pins should make and maintain the contact through out the machining operation. Once the workpiece is located on the fixture plate there can be number of holes which are free. In such cases minute change in the fixturing system is needed. Support Mechanism. The sensor on the locating pins sense the force acting on pin. As per the positive location principal.84 inserted either from top or bottom and then again the top plate will slide on the guide ways to come on the fixture base plate. The supporting pin can be activated pneumatically or hydraulically. Once the supporting pins touch the workpiece they should be locked in this position and this can be a binary actuated mechanism. These holes can be used to locate a supporting pin. .

then a third locator in contact with Ec must be pair wise consistent 85 . The union of these parallelograms as we rotate Ea forms an annulus. Eb sweeps out an annulus centered on the origin. Eb sweeps out a parallelogram. To eliminate equivalent fixtures. we only need to consider the first quadrant of this annulus. That is. By translating and rotating Ea about origin. with inner radius equal to the minimum distance between Ea and Eb and outer diameter equals to maximum distance between Ea and Eb. If the first locator contacts ea and the second locator contacts Eb. as we translate along the extent of Ea. It is assumed that Ea makes contact with the locator at the origin of the lattice. Ec. For generality these edges are denoted by Ea . We now consider each of these second locator positions in turn and identify all possible positions for the third locator.APPENDIX GOLDBERG’S ALGORITHM The three edges of the workpiece which we are going to be used for location will be given to the system. Eb. Figure A-1 Workpiece orientation. for any orientation of Ea.

86 with both Ea and Eb. That is. the possible locations for Ec with respect to Eb form an annulus around the second locator. However. Intersecting these annuli provides a conservative bound on the set of grid locations that simultaneously satisfy both constraints. The exact region swept out by Ec as we maintain contact with the first two locators is difficult to characterize. we can easily find an envelop that contains this region by independently considering each pair. Figure A-2 Position of first locating pin .

87 Figure A-3 Possible location of second pin Figure A-4 Circle method to find the possible location of second pin Figure A-5 Elimination of possible position .

The resulting [(θmin+ βmin). producing a ( θmax. Then this interval is transformed by adding the (βmin. This interval defines a sector of the EaEc annulus. points outside this sector are unreachable by the Ec. This is accomplished by first identifying the angular limits of the part configurations that simultaneously contact the first and second locators. A similar construction produces a sector of the Eb Ec annulus based on the β-interval corresponding to edges Eb and Ec. βmax) interval that delineates the minimum and maximum angle attainable by a ray connecting Ea and Ec . Intersecting these annular sectors provides a set of candidate locations for the third locator.( θmax+ βmax)] interval describes the set of all possible angles between points on edge Ea and Ec. while Ea and Eb maintain contact with locators 1 and 2. θmin) interval of reachable part angles. .88 This bound further can be refined by considering the angular limits for each annulus.

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93 . compassionate home by his loving parents in Kolhapur. in Barshi. 1975. India. Then he came to the USA in Fall 2001 to pursue higher education in mechanical engineering. He grew up in a godly. He worked for Cummins India Ltd. The author plans to return to industry after graduation. for three years after his undergraduate studies. He graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering in June 1998 from Shivaji University.BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Umesh Avadhut Tol was born on August 7.