Individualizing Locator Adjustments of Assembly Fixtures Using a Digital Twin
Journal article, 2019
Implementing the concept of a digital twin in full production provides enough data on each individual assembly for real-time control of production processes. Taking advantage of this opening, this paper proposes individualized locator adjustments as a new method to improve the geometrical quality of assemblies. In this method, all locators in the assembly fixture can be adjusted for each individual assembly based on the scan data of the mating parts of that assembly. The optimal adjustment of every locator for each individual assembly is obtained using an optimization algorithm and nonrigid variation simulation tools (computer-aided tolerancing tools). This method is applied to three industrial cases and geometrical variations and the mean deviation from nominal positions are compared to nonindividualized adjustments and also when there are no adjustments. The results show that applying this method, an improvement of up to 81% in geometrical variation and 78% in the mean deviation of assemblies can be obtained compared to assemblies without adjustments. These improvements are 60% and 57% higher than nonindividualized adjustments of locators for the variation and the mean deviation, respectively. Moreover, a modification on the optimization algorithm has been proposed that reduces the amount of required adjustments.