Automatic calibration of a tool-changing unit for modular reconfigurable machines.
Modern trends in customer demand have resulted in the development of a class of manufacturing system known as Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS). Reconfigurable systems are designed around the idea that they must be able to be reconfigured in both their production capacity as well as in the machining processes they perform. A subset of the RMS paradigm is a group of machines called Modular Reconfigurable Machines (MRMs). Modular machines are built up from different hardware modules. They offer the user the possibility of only purchasing the required tooling for the specific need at the time. As reconfigurable machines are able to offer flexibility in machining functions, their ability to have easy access to a variety of machine tools would greatly influence their effectiveness and production capacity. This project presents a machine tooling system that would provide MRMs with an efficient way to change tools. A major requirement of the unit was that it should automatically calibrate itself in terms of its position relative to the machine it was servicing. In order for the unit to realize this requirement, it needed a method that would provide it with real-time 3D tracking of the spindle with which it was interacting. Commercially available systems that offer this facility are very costly. A popular gaming controller, the Nintendo Wii remote, was used to provide the tool-changing unit with a very economical real-time 3D tracking capability. This dissertation details the design, implementation and testing of the positioning system for the tool-changing unit.