A tale of two flexible tooling systems

This type of Flexible Tooling System is used to precisely hold three dimensionally curved parts, such as airplane skins, for trimming and drilling operations. These systems can be programmed to hold different shapes, versus having to build dedicated tooling for each shape, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each new airplane.

Since we had previously designed a Flexible Tooling System that worked great for a previous customer, we were confident we could do another one, even though there are major differences in the two systems. For the 2nd application, the actuator had to be re-designed and numerous changes made so each actuator could be moved to every table location.

1st system with 36 pockets, populated by 36 actuators

2nd system with 637 pockets, populated by 300 actuators