For years organizations were obliged to design and manufacture complex fixtures and tooling in order to properly hold a single free-formed shape. Design, manufacturing, production and storage of these fixture assemblies are very expensive. Currently, companies want to produce small lots of parts on demand and therefore, it is important to find a solution to these expensive fixture systems, especially for large parts like aerospace skin – thus, the birth of UHF Systems.
The programming of UHF systems and correct synchronization of the dynamic actuators, to avoid collisions during machining, is very time consuming and dramatically reduces the overall manufacturing process efficiency.
Organizations are spending a significant amount of time to program UHF systems to properly hold the part inside the machine. The height and sequence of each actuator must be programmed and timed in the correct order (between part support, index positioning and vacuum setting). It also requires a proper part list of physical elements to be installed on the machine before initiating the machining process.
Companies that strictly want to use its standard CAM system to compute every single position of the different devices, post-process and simulate the NC program in order to program the UHF correctly, will typically invest several hours to several days of work.
Additionally, programmers will still need to anticipate possible collisions that may occur during machining. Again, the programmer will need to iterate back and forth many times using “after the fact” machine simulation in order to modify the CAM program. This will extend UHF programming time from hours to several days.