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CMS engineers have developed a flexible tooling system (UHF) that uses the machine spindle and servo axes to automatically set the height and angle of a matrix of vacuum pods.

The system provides an automatically adjustable holding system for complex curved or contoured components as used in the composite aerospace sector.

It offers savings in the high costs of individual traditional fixtures and storage space and allows for easy updating and new projects, reducing set-up times.

Consisting of a matrix of 99 passive vacuum cups (positioned at differing centres to cater for large and small parts) – each 85mm diameter with a vertical stroke of 700mm – the cups can be positioned + or – 45 degree from horizontal and for the full 360 degree in the XY plane to an accuracy of 0.1mm.

Covering an area of approximately 3.5 x 2m, the system allows for multiple datums that can be automatically changed by the machine to suit the customer’s requirements, thus offering flexibility and ease of use.

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