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Deformations of contacts between the workpiece and locators/clamps resulting from large contact forces cause overall workpiece displacement, and affect the localization accuracy of the workpiece. An important characteristic of a workpiece-flxture system is that locators are passive elements and can only react to clamping forces and external loads, whereas clamps are active elements and apply a predetermined normal load to the surface of workpiece to prevent it from losing contact with the locators. Clamping forces play an important role in determining the final workpiece quality. This paper presents a general method for determining the optimal clamping forces including their magnitudes and positions. First, we derive a set of "compatibility" equations that describe the relationship between the displacement of the workpiece and the deformations at contacts. Further, we develop a locally elastic contact model to characterize the nonlinear coupling between the contact force and elastic deformation at the individual contact. We define the minimum norm of the elastic deformations at contacts as the objective function, then formulate the problem of determining the optimal clamping forces as a constrained nonlinear programming problem which guarantees that the fixturing of the workpiece is force closure. Using the exterior penalty function method, we transform the constrained nonlinear programming into an unconstrained nonlinear programming which is, in fact, the nonlinear least square. Consequently, the optimal magnitudes and positions of clamping forces are obtained by using the Levenberg-Marquardt method which is globally convergent. The proposed planning method of optimal clamping forces, which may also have an application to other passive, indeterminate problems such as power grasps in robotics, is illustrated with numerical example.
Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:5 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: July 2008