Optimal design of fixture layout in multistation assembly processes
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This paper presents a methodology for the optimal design of fixture layouts in multistation assembly processes. An optimal fixture layout improves the robustness of a fixture system against environmental noises, reduces product variability, and leads to manufacturing cost reduction. Three key aspects of the multistation fixture layout design are addressed: a multistation variation propagation model, a quantitative measure of fixture design, and an effective and efficient optimization algorithm. One of the challenges raised by this multistation design is that a high-dimension design space, which usually embeds a lot of local optimums, will have to be explored. Consequently, it makes a global optimality more difficult and, if an inefficient algorithm is used, may require prohibitive computing time. In this paper, exchange algorithms, originally developed in the research of optimal experimental design, are adopted and further revised to optimize fixture layouts in a multistation process. The revised exchange algorithm provides a good tradeoff between optimality and efficiency: it remarkably reduces the computing time without sacrificing the optimal value. A four-station assembly process for a sports utility vehicle sideframe is used throughout the paper to illustrate the relevant concepts and the resulting methodology.
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
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