Intelligent Fixtures for the machining of low rigidity components

The INTEFIX project aims to increase the performance of the machining processes by the use of intelligent fixture systems, allowing the monitoring, control and adaptation of the process to obtain suitable results according to precision, quality and cost requirements. Typically, the main functions of fixtures are to securely hold and accurately locate the workpiece considered as a non-deformable body. Nowadays, the high precision required and the need of increasing the performance of the manufacturing process drive to other important functions of the fixtures taking into account aspects like the deformations, vibrations and distortions in the workpiece during processing. The project uses adaptive fixtures to control and adapt the behavior of the machining system in order to obtain suitable results in manufacturing precision, quality and cost. Moreover, INTEFIX deals with the integration of new and state-of-the-art technologies (sensors, actuators, control algorithms, simulation tools…) applied to the workpiece handling systems to develop intelligent and modular fixtures capable to modify the behaviour and interactions between the process and systems in machining operations; reducing time and costs with improved performance and capabilities.

The experiments are divided into three scenarios oriented to obtain a solution to different problems associated to machining process:

  • SCENARIO 1: VIBRATION. Workpieces with problems of vibrations during machining. The intelligent fixture counteracts vibration problems by changing the dynamic properties, stiffness, damping, etc.
  • SCENARIO 2: DEFORMATION. Workpieces with problems of deflections/ distortions during machining. The intelligent fixture counteracts the displacement of the workpiece through process development forces.
  • SCENARIO 3: POSITIONING. Workpieces with problems of reference setting. The intelligent fixture introduces small movements to correct linear and angular alignment of the workpiece.

The developed solutions are validated in 11 real test cases from the aeronautic, railway, automotive and machine tool sectors.