An automatically reconfigurable discrete tool (matrix of pins) has been developed and demonstrated for sheet metal part forming and composite part molding in the aerospace industry. A GUI-based control system positions each of the hydraulically-actuated pins according to a computer model of the intended tool surface. Open-loop position control of individual pins (timing the upward movement of each pin) is possible but accuracy and repeatability are inadequate for most sheet metal forming and composite molding applications. However, closed-loop position control is shown to provide sufficient accuracy and repeatability for these same applications. Once the pin matrix shape is set, it can be made into a rigid forming or molding tool by side clamping with a hydraulic ram. Since the pin ends are spherical in shape, the resulting dimpled tool surface is covered with an interpolating layer of material. The pins can be reset to their lowest position by either withdrawing hydraulic fluid or pushing them down with the setting platen. [S1087-1357(00)01403-9]
A Hydraulically-Actuated Reconfigurable Tool for Flexible Fabrication: Implementation and Control
Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received Oct. 1998; revised Aug. 1999. Associate Technical Editor: T. C. Woo.
Walczyk, D. F., and Im, Y. (August 1, 1999). "A Hydraulically-Actuated Reconfigurable Tool for Flexible Fabrication: Implementation and Control ." ASME. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. August 2000; 122(3): 562–568. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1286258
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