The long lead time for jig and fixture design is a serious bottleneck in modern manufacturing. Efforts to automate the design process using intelligent CAD systems have not been taken beyond the prototype stage mainly because of several impediments. These include the requirement of complex data structures to represent the workpiece and its attributes. Two deficiencies in existing systems for fixture design are addressed. These are (a) design for a sequence of operations and (b) design with tolerance considerations. Tolerance and process specifications are obtained from the user during an interactive session. A knowledge-based design system, REFIX, then designs a fixture for the workpiece. The fixture is optimized for a particular datum specification and sequence of operations. It is then analyzed and presented via the CAD system. REFIX is automated to minimize user-induced errors.

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