Penn State engineer has developed a new technology that uses light-activated glue to hold workpieces in position for machining, grinding and other manufacturing processes.
Dr. Edward De Meter, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, who developed the concept, says, "This new technology offers an alternative to mechanical clamping, the approach industries most often use. Capital investment for automated clamping is typically high and mechanical clamps can deform the workpiece, impede the manufacturing process and occupy processing space that could otherwise be used to hold additional workpieces. Adhering workpieces to a fixture avoids these problems and can lead to significant improvements in manufacturing productivity, part quality and part cost."
In the new approach, the workpiece is anchored to a steel fixture that conforms to the underside of the workpiece. At strategic locations on its surface, the fixture has holes capped with small, round, raised pads made of commercial sapphire, a relatively inexpensive ceramic material. These pads, which De Meter calls gripper pins, act as lenses or windows for ultra violet or infrared light used to set or destroy glue anchoring the workpiece.
Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
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