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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X

S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. vol.22 n.2 Pretoria  2011


Automatic tool-changing within the reconfigurable manufacturing systems paradigm



J.E.T. CollinsI; G. BrightII

IDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,
IIDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,




Reconfigurable manufacturing systems were developed as a proposed solution to the varying market and customer requirements present in today's global market. The systems are designed to offer adaptability in machining functions and processes. This adaptive capability requires access to a selection of tools. The development of reconfigurable manufacturing systems has mainly been focused on the machine tools themselves. Methods of supplying tools to these machines need to be researched. This paper does so, presenting a tool-changing unit that offers a solution to this need. It then discusses the enabling technologies that would allow for automatic integration and diagnostic abilities of the unit.


Herkonfigureerbare vervaardingstelsels is ontwikkel as 'n voorgestelde oplossing vir die varierende mark- en klantbehoeftes in die hedendaagse globale mark. Die stelsels is ontwikkel om aanpasbaarheid te bied ten opsigte van masjineringsfunksies en -prosesse. Hierdie aanpasbare vermoëns vereis egter toegang tot 'n verskeidenheid van gereedskapstukke. Die ontwikkeling van herkonfigureerbare vervaardigingstelsels het egter hoofsaaklik gefokus op die gereedskapstukke. Die wyse waarop hierdie gereedskapstukke beskikbaar gestel word aan die masjinerie moet egter nagevors word. Hierdie artikel doen juis dit en stel 'n eenheid voor vir die ruiling van gereedskapstukke. Voorts word die tegnologieë bespreek wat automatiese integrasie moontlik maak en diagnostiese vermoëns verskaf.



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* Corresponding author
1 The author was enrolled for an MSc Eng (Mechanical) degree in the Department of Mechanical, Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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