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The basic concept of an adaptable fixturing system and its hardware implementation are described. The system employs reconfigurable fixture elements that are used to locate and hold various workparts for assembly. The fixture configuration can be changed automatically depending upon the workpart geometry and the assembly operations required. Analytic tools are developed for designing fixture layouts. Kinematic modeling, analysis, and characterization of workpart fixturing are presented. The condition for a fixture layout to locate a given workpart uniquely at a desired location is derived. Desirable fixture layout characteristics are obtained for loading and unloading the workpart successfully despite errors in workpart manipulation. The fixturing of a plastic cover of an electrical appliance with complex shape is used as an example to verify the analytic results and for demonstrating the concept.