Fixtures are used to locate, hold and support workpieces in manufacturing operations such as machining, inspection, and assembly. Designing and fabricating fixtures can take up to 10-20% of the total cost of a manufacturing system. Fixture planning is a complex activity restricted by the extreme diversity of workpiece, product batch size, product geometry, part accessibility, and working force. Computer-Aided Fixture Planning (CAFP) has been used to improve the fixture design for over 20 years. CAFP contributes to the reduction of lead-time and human interaction in fixture planning. It helps verification of the fixture quality and integration of fixture design with CAD/CAM systems. This paper summarizes constraints of fixture planning and four phases of CAFP. Various approaches to CAFP are surveyed. Application systems of CAFP including some recent patents are reviewed. The paper concludes with the research trend of CAFP.
Keywords: Computer-aided fixture planning, fixture analysis, fixture synthesis, fixture verification and fixture planning
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