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Flexible Tooling Systems

The benefits of flexible tooling are well known in the aerospace industry. However, the viability of the entire cell can be jeopardized if the flexible tooling is unreliable.

One of our customers came to us with this very problem. Due to the major reliability issues they had experienced with their POGO® system, they were searching for the best way to retrofit it. Since the machine the POGO® system was installed on was a Flow® waterjet, our customer decided to get a quote from Flow® for their retrofit package. They discovered some significant drawbacks:

  • Their concrete pit under the table would have to be redone because Flow’sactuators were longer than the original POGO® actuators.
  • The kinematic model for Flow’s actuators was different than the original POGO® actuators, so the customer’s Cenit® programming software would have to be reconfigured, and their existing part programs re-posted.

Then we were invited to quote the project. We proposed our flexible tooling system, designed from the “ground up” as a drop-in retrofit for the POGO® system. No concrete rework was needed, no part programs had to be redone or programming software changed. We won the project, which was no small feat considering we had gone up against Flow® on their own machine.

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 Composite part being held by Infinite Tool System after the retrofit

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Actuators being installed during the retrofit. Mechanically, Infinite Tool actuators are a bolt-in replacement for the original POGO® actuators. The kinematic model (as it relates to part programs) is unchanged.

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The original POGO® actuators a few months before our retrofit. At the time this photo was taken, 7 POGO’s out of 36 total in the system were out for repair. 

With new systems, for a minimal fee we will design the tables and determine the optimum actuator spacing needed for your parts.