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Research Papers: Design Automation

A Methodology for Modular and Changeable Design Architecture and Application in Automotive Framing Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Hoda ElMaraghy

Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Centre,
University of Windsor,
Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada

Tarek AlGeddawy

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering,
University of Minnesota Duluth,
Duluth, MN 55812

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received January 16, 2015; final manuscript received August 24, 2015; published online October 16, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Harrison M. Kim.

J. Mech. Des 137(12), 121403 (Oct 16, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1028; doi: 10.1115/1.4031549 History: Received January 16, 2015; Revised August 24, 2015

This paper presents a design methodology to modularize integrated fixtures, such as automotive framing systems, to be quickly and cost effectively reconfigured to accommodate a variety of products. Automotive assembly framing systems are used to accurately position and spot-weld the loosely pre-assembled body-in-white (BIW) car body parts. Auto-assembly systems can handle many car body styles; however, the used model-specific BIW framing systems are large, expensive, and the changeover to accommodate different car models takes considerable time. The proposed modularization design methodology aggregates a set of design structure matrices (DSMs) to represent the required changes in the fixtures, the spatial relationships between the used tools and fixtures, and the flow of exchanged information between them. The best granularity level of the modular fixture design architecture is determined using “Cladistics”: a hierarchical biological classification tool. Different tools within the framing system are combined into switchable modules, which allows these integrated systems to be easily reconfigured between different car body styles (product variants). A case study involving four car body styles is used for illustrating the presented design methodology. Results show the validity of the proposed methodology and demonstrate the obtained design of new modular automotive BIW framing system and the methods used for postprocessing and redesigning to improve the framing system's changeability.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Cladistics analysis of a group of work-pieces

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Fig. 2

Modules of a commonly used automotive framing system

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Fig. 3

Frame structure: (a) a picture of a typical automotive framing system showing the three rows of positioning tools, (b) a schematic of a typical integrated dedicated frame for a specific automotive body style, and (c) tool relative locations in a frame layout

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Fig. 5

The difference between tool variants (a), module variants (b), and different modules (c)

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Fig. 6

Frame tool changes between the four car body styles

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Fig. 7

The three different domains DSMs and the aggregated DSM

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Fig. 8

The optimum frame granularity cladogram showing the modular architecture at each granularity level

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Fig. 9

Module change map and change cost

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Fig. 10

The modular solution steps. (a) The new modular design of the four car BIW framing system. (b) The framing system with reduced modules after postprocessing. (c) The car BIW final framing system after redesign Improvements.

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