Active fixturing: literature review and future research directions

O. J. Bakker, T. N. Papastathis, A. A. Popov, S. M. Ratchev

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Fixtures are used to fixate, position and support workpieces and represent a crucial tool in manufacturing. Their performance determines the result of the whole manufacturing process of a product. There is a vast amount of research done on automatic fixture layout synthesis and optimisation and fixture design verification. Most of this work considers fixture mechanics to be static and the fixture elements to be passive. However, a new generation of fixtures has emerged that has actuated fixture elements for active control of the part-fixture system during manufacturing operations to increase the end product quality. This paper analyses the latest studies in the field of active fixture design and its relationship with flexible and reconfigurable fixturing systems. First, a brief introduction is given on the importance of research of fixturing systems. Secondly, the basics of workholding and fixture design are visited, after which the state-of-the-art in active fixturing and related concepts is presented. Fourthly, part-fixture dynamics and design strategies which take these into account are discussed. Fifthly, the control strategies used in active fixturing systems are examined. Finally, some final conclusions and prospective future research directions are presented.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3171-3190
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2013


    • active fixture design
    • active fixturing
    • automated manufacturing systems
    • CAD/CAM
    • control design
    • fixture verification analysis
    • flexible tooling
    • manufacturing control systems
    • part-fixture dynamics
    • process control
    • process modelling
    • process monitoring
    • reconfigurable fixturing technology


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