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Title: Towards a software framework for reconfigurable and adaptive fixturing systems
Author: Ryll, Marco
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 4988
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2011
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There is an ongoing trend towards advanced fixturing systems that can be automatically reconfigured for different workpieces and dynamically adapt the clamping forces during the manufacturing process. However, the increased utilisation of computer technology and sensor feedback currently requires a significant amount of programming effort during the development phase and deployment of such fixtures which impairs their successful industrial realisation. This research addresses the issue by developing the core concepts of a novel software framework that facilitates the deployment and operation of reconfigurable and adaptive fixturing systems. This includes a new data model for the representation of the fixturing system, using object-oriented modelling techniques. Secondly, a generic methodology for the automatic reconfiguration of fixturing systems has been developed that can be applied to a plethora of different fixture layouts. Thirdly, a flexible communication infrastructure is proposed which supports the platform-independent communication between the various parts of the fixturing system through the adoption of a publish/subscribe approach. The integration of these core knowledge contributions into a software framework significantly reduces the programming effort by providing a ready-to-use infrastructure that can be configured according a given fixture layout. In order to manage the complexity of the research, a structured research methodology has been followed. Based on an extensive literature review, a number of knowledge gaps have been identified which were the basis for the definition of clear research objectives. A use case analysis has been conducted to identify the requirements of the software framework and several potential middleware technologies have been assessed for the communication infrastructure. This was followed by the development of the three core knowledge contributions. Finally, the research results have been demonstrated and initially verified with a prototype of a reconfigurable fixturing system, indicating that the utilisation of the software framework can eliminate the need for programming, thereby drastically reducing deployment effort and lead time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery