Feasibility of a flexible fixturing system
Fixturing of parts during manufacturing operations traditionally relies on the knowledge and experience of the operator. Typically the operator positions the part, performs the operation and reconfigures the setup for the next operation. This research demonstrates the feasibility of a flexible fixturing system capable of dynamically reconfiguring. Several examples of machining a 2D part are illustrated. Specifically, the problem of restraining planar parts during 2[one half] D milling is examined. The experimental setup simulates automated clamping in a milling environment. The part is restrained using four top clamps each with two degrees of freedom. The algorithm determines clamping locations for each of the clamp arms, and controls the clamping system during operation. During machining, if one of the clamps interferes with the milling tool, it is relocated to a predetermined safe location until it no longer interferes.