An Integrated Approach for Fixture Layout Design and Clamping Force Optimization

Michael Thomas, F Rex; Ravindran, D ; Andrews, A ; Prince Abraham, B


Fixture Layout Design (FLD) determines the specific position of locators and clamps to orient and holds the workpiece with respect to a machine tool. The FLD approaches that use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) have been widely used in previous works and have become computationally expensive and specific to a particular problem. Further, the FLD and clamping force optimization were often performed separately by ignoring their interdependence. In the present work, the locators' contact forces are uniformly distributed by suitably varying the fixture layout and clamping force to maximize the part dimensional and form quality. The parametric rigid body model is used to depict the behaviour of the workpiece-fixture system, and it is incorporated with the genetic algorithm to optimize the design variables. A prismatic workpiece with pocket milling operation is considered to validate the proposed methodology. Stability criterion and tool-fixture interference are considered constraints. Subsequently, FEA is used to verify the integrity of the proposed approach. The results infer that the uniform distribution of maximum elastic deformation is achieved due to the uniform distribution of contact forces. The suggested approach is proven effective for designing a milling fixture to manufacture components with high dimensional and form precision.


Contact forces, Finite element analysis, Fixture design, Genetic algorithm

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