Exploiting modular pallet flexibility for product and process co-evolution through zero-point clamping systems


Flexibility and reconfigurability of production systems are typically exploited to cope with the changing production demand in terms of volume and variety. This work addresses the problem of enhancing the current flexibility of Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMSs) by designing pallet configurations with zero-point modular fixtures.This class of equipment provides the ability of rapidly reconfiguring the pallets to match the production requirements, thus providing a strategic option to quickly manage the joint evolution of products and processes. An approach consisting of methods and tools is presented to overcome the main obstacles related to the use of zero-point clamping technologies in modern FMSs. The proposed approach ranges from the design of the pallet configuration to the pallet verification during the manufacturing executing phase. The feasibility of the overall approach has been demonstrated through the development of a prototype. © The Author(s) 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Factories of the Future: The Italian Flagship Initiative