Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Yiming (Kevin) Rong, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Richard D. Sisson, Jr., Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Mustapha S. Fofana, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Cosme Furlong, Committee Member




This thesis focuses on the application of case based reasoning (CBR) to welding fixtures in a computer aided design (CAD) environment. Modular fixtures have become more popular in previous years due to the creation of flexible manufacturing systems. Modular fixtures, since they are composed of many standardized parts, require much iteration to produce a full fixture design. This process is made more complicated when it is applied to more complex parts such as welding assemblies. In an effort to simplify fixture design for such complicated parts, researchers have been working on integrating fixture design into CAD packages. These efforts, generally known as computer aided fixture design (CAFD), do not focus on the transition of experience from more experienced designers but only provide a structure and a virtual environment to create fixtures. The research presented in this thesis will apply to this area. Case based reasoning (CBR) is a method of using previous cases to help aid the development of solutions to new problems. Applied to CAFD, this method is reduced to the application of a database and a retrieval and adaptation system. Current research on CAFD and CBR is limited to only proposing systems for machining fixtures. This thesis presents a methodology of a CAFD and CBR system that is dedicated to welding assemblies and fixtures. The focus is on creating an indexing system that adequately represents the workpiece and fixture, a retrieval system that accurately recovers the previous cases, and a method that integrates designer feedback in each process. The results of this thesis will be shown in a case study using an automobile muffler fixture assembly to define each idea of the methodology and to provide an example.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





welding fixture, fixture design, Case based reasoning