Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science

School

School of Engineering

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Majid Rad

Second Advisor

Dr Ganesh Kothapalli

Abstract

Productivity is one of the most important factors in manufacturing processes because of the high level of market competition. In this regard, modular fixtures (MFs) play an important role in practically improving productivity in flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) due to this technology using highly productive computer numerical control (CNC) machines. MFs consist of devices called jigs and fixtures for accurately holding the workpiece during different machining operations. The design process is complex, and traditional methods of MF design were not sufficiently productive.

Computer-aided design (CAD) software has rapidly improved as a result of the development of computer technology, and has provided huge opportunities for modular fixture designers to use its 3D modelling capabilities to develop more automated systems. Computer-aided fixture design (CAFD) systems have become automated by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This study will investigate the further improvement of automated CAFD systems by using AI tools. In this research, an integrated CAFD is developed by considering four main requirements:

· a 3D model of the workpiece,

· an expert system,

· assembly automation of MFs,

· an efficient feature library.

The 3D model is an important factor that can provide the appropriate specification of the workpiece; SolidWorks is used the CAD environment for undertaking the 3D modelling in this study. The expert system is applied as a tool to make right decisions about the CAFD planning process, including locating and clamping methods and their related element selection. This helps achieve a feasible fixture design layout. SolidWorks API and Visual Basic programming language are employed for the automating and simulation of the assembly process of MFs. A feature library of modular fixture elements is constructed as a means to simplify the fixture design process.

Included in

Engineering Commons

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