FlexProp CuC System

The CuC system was first introduced in 2004 at AB Volvo. Since then, FlexProp has supplied the automotive industry with approximately 100 systems. Today, FlexProp provides different types of fixtures based on similar technology. The CuC system allows weight reduction of 70-90% compared to conventional fixtures made of steel.

By utilizing the excellent performance of the CuC fixture, it is possible to reduce the total investment cost. One great example is a laser brazing station in which the workshop area and energy consumption have been reduced by 60% and 40% respectively, and model change is now completed in only one day compared to five. This adds up to substantial cost savings by far exceeding the investment of the fixture.

CuC base frame

Figure 1. A CuC base frame of 26 kg replacing a steel frame of 155 kg.

FlexProp Welded Steel Fixture

By combining innovative design and laser cutting technology, it is possible to reduce a fixture's weight by approximately 30% compared to the use of conventional steel. This is achieved without any significant cost increase. The laser cutting technology allows sharp tolerances and innovative design which improve quality and reduce manufacturing time.

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Figure 2. Both designs are manufactured in steel and have the same geometry and mechanical performance, but the weight is reduced from 155 kg to 98 kg in the FlexProp welded steel fixture (right).


FlexProp Hybrid Composite/Aluminium Gripper

By combining the best of composite and aluminium technology, FlexProp has developed grippers and process grippers with excellent mechanical properties and the same flexibility as the Euro-gripper system provides.

The gripper system has a central beam of composite where aluminium pipes are assembled. The central part of the gripper is built using the same principles as the CuC program providing significant weight savings and stiffness to the entire structure.

The system is very flexible and allows for ease of making modifications and repairing to pipes and joints. In the case of an accident, damage is usually restricted to the aluminium pipes and joints due to the rigidity and toughness of the central composite beam.

The example below shows a UB 8 gripper utilizing 60mm aluminium pipes.

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Figure 3. Aluminium system 73 kg (left), FlexProp Hybrid Composite/Aluminium structure 32 kg (right).

FlexProp Bonded Aluminium Grippers

The most inexpensive gripper system available is the welded steel gripper. This type of gripper is used in press lines and handling, where there is moderate demand for tolerance or flexibility. These grippers are normally equipped with suction cups.

FlexProp has shown that if the steel pipes are exchanged with aluminium pipes, and if the pipes are cut using a laser and bonded with adhesive, it is possible to improve stiffness and reduce weight by 50% or more.

Adhesive bonded aluminium structures are frequently used in the aerospace industry. By utilizing similar concepts in grippers, FlexProp achieves low weight and excellent mechanical properties at cost levels competitive to welded steel grippers.

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Figure 4. Conventional welded steel gripper 56 kg (left). FlexProp Bonded Aluminum Gripper 28 kg (right).

FlexProp Composite Manual Tools

FlexProp has developed a system for manual tools based on circular pipes. The flexible system can be adapted for various applications. The tool below is used for the assembly of door hinges.

Weight is often reduced by at least 50% giving large positive effects on ergonomics and operator efficiency. The base structure of the tool is practically impossible to destroy due to the rigidity and toughness of the material. FlexProp Composite Manual Tools are highly appreciated in applications where low weight and robustness is important for ergonomics and operator efficiency.

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Figure 5. Conventional manual tool made of steel (left). FlexProp Composite Manual Tool (right). By introducing composite materials the weight is reduced from 9.6 kg to 4.5 kg, but most importantly, the FlexProp Composite Manual Tool is more robust compared to the steel design.

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