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A review and analysis of current computer-aided fixture design approaches

Boyle, I. and Rong, Y. M. and Brown, David C. (2011) A review and analysis of current computer-aided fixture design approaches. Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 27 (1). pp. 1-12. ISSN 0736-5845

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Abstract

A key characteristic of the modern market place is the consumer demand for variety. To respond effectively to this demand, manufacturers need to ensure that their manufacturing practices are sufficiently flexible to allow them to achieve rapid product development. Fixturing, which involves using fixtures to secure workpieces during machining so that they can be transformed into parts that meet required design specifications, is a significant contributing factor towards achieving manufacturing flexibility. To enable flexible fixturing, considerable levels of research effort have been devoted to supporting the process of fixture design through the development of computer-aided fixture design (CAFD) tools and approaches. This paper contains a review of these research efforts. Over seventy-five CAFD tools and approaches are reviewed in terms of the fixture design phases they support and the underlying technology upon which they are based. The primary conclusion of the review is that while significant advances have been made in supporting fixture design, there are primarily two research issues that require further effort. The first of these is that current CAFD research is segmented in nature and there remains a need to provide more cohesive fixture design support. Secondly, a greater focus is required on supporting the detailed design of a fixture's physical structure.