Affordable, auto-reconfigurable, multi-product manufacturing cells

Host: University of Nottingham

Location: Online

Cost: Free

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The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IfAM), part of the University of Nottingham is delighted to launch a new weekly series of 30 minute online Manufacturing Technical Masterclass webinars.

IfAM encompasses a multidisciplinary team of established academics in their respective fields in the UK and at our campuses in Malaysia and China. This provides the foundation needed for research and world-leading facilities to encourage the development of new technologies and systems for production of high-value products within the manufacturing sector. IfAM is dedicated to supporting UK manufacturing to revitalise the British economy through innovation and collaboration.

These Masterclasses are free to attend and are delivered by our world leading manufacturing experts, providing insight and knowledge into the latest sector innovation. The sessions are designed for technical design, mechanical, or manufacturing engineers and managers within UK manufacturing and engineering businesses.

In our fourth Masterclass, we will be detailing the latest scientific advancements from IfAM in the development of affordable, auto-reconfigurable, multi-product manufacturing cells. This session will use the aerospace sector as an example, but the findings can be implemented across other manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The aerospace manufacturing industry has been using dedicated manufacturing systems with manual processes for decades. Not only is this labour-intensive, it is also extremely wasteful as no reuse is possible at the end of a product life cycle. As automation technologies evolve, a flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing system is needed to reduce the number of tooling and manual hours in the process. However, a reconfigurable system and its integration are often perceived to be costly compared to a traditional dedicated system.

At the Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing, an affordable and auto-reconfigurable multi-product assembly system was designed in house by comparing, down-selecting, and integrating off-the-shelf technologies to suit our use cases. The proposed system consists of a jig frame, adjustable interface plates, reconfigurable profile boards and a pick-and-place end effector. The jig frame can be robotically configured via a pick and place process, in which the profile boards are loaded and/or unloaded onto the jig frame via the end effector. The process feasibility was proven via a business case analysis and lab-based experiments regarding tolerance and process timing requirements. The proposed tooling solution with automated robotic reconfiguration can be incorporated as a standard configuration in a smart assembly factory.

This event is part-funded via the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered as part of the Aerospace UP project.

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