Flexible manufacturing systems are designed to produce a wide variety of parts with different shapes and sizes. However, the current philosophy of employing dedicated fixtures is expensive, and inefficient, and if these modern manufacturing systems are to be truly flexible, then the fixturing must be flexible also. This paper which reports on an innovative class of flexible fixtures based on particulate fluidized beds, not only presents a mathematical model governing the holding ability of this novel class of fixtured, but also summarizes the results of parametric computer studies.

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