Small investment with a big effect

In keeping with its company slogan of ‘Small investment – big effect’, Buchen, Germany-based rotary table manufacturer Weiss GmbH brought eight machine tools ‘up to speed’ with the help of clamping devices from Hainbuch.

“We had to reduce set-up and idle times through optimised precision and shorter machining time, and felt that Hainbuch could support us in this endeavour,” says director of tool management Thomas Schuster.
Together with Hainbuch, the existing clamping programme of conventional three-jaw chucks was promptly analysed and appropriate alternatives were found. The result was the introduction of customised clamping devices for the eight machines.
Hainbuch’s Toplus clamping system (pictured) was implemented to ensure optimal precision with high clamping forces, while the Centrotex quick-change system was also integrated into the manufacturing process to facilitate the rapid change-over of numerous component types.
The large transport cams manufactured by Weiss are soft machined with indexable-insert tools. Viktor Gruslak, acting department manager responsible for cam milling, says: “With the old fixtures we had set-up times of between 2-3 hours for a complete conversion. Now, the overall time is between 10 to 20 minutes. That is a huge saving.”
Asked whether clamping device providers other than Hainbuch were contacted, Schuster says: “At that time, we were extremely thorough in looking over the offerings from all possible vendors, but the Hainbuch solution was the best suited to our parts.”
For further information www.hainbuch.com

Engineering cornucopia of new products

Leader Chuck’s stand at last month’s MACH exhibition featured an engineering cornucopia of new and enhanced products developed to improve the efficiency, productivity and accuracy of just about any machine shop.

“For example, freeze clamping plates from AMCC have proven to be an excellent alternative to magnetic fixtures when securing non-metallic and non-magnetic components,” explains managing director Mark Jones. “Visitors were able to see the plates in action as it is the only way to fully appreciate the holding strength available with ice.”
Autogrip’s range of through-bore and closed-centre standard and long stroke one-, two-, three-, four- and six-jaw power chucks are designed to operate at up to 8000 rpm, while the Lexair Tri-Grip collet closer is designed for use on either vertical or horizontal machining centres, to maximise the raw material loading capacity. Extending the capability of any machining centre was Exact Machinery’s range of CNC rotary tables and indexing units.
New products in the Leader portfolio included a line-up of small self-contained pneumatic jaw and collet chucks from Jato, and an extensive range of dynamic balancing and monitoring solutions from Italian specialist Balance Systems.
Also on show was the Hewa range of two-jaw self-centring indexing chucks, Maprox collet chucks and miniature multi-jaw chucks for watchmakers and metrology applications, and MicroCentric air and diaphragm chucks (pictured). Details of tailor-made workholding and component manipulation solutions from Rotomors were also highlighted, as Leader exclusively offers these solutions to manufacturing and precision engineering companies in the
UK and Ireland.
For further information www.leaderchuck.com

Zero-point clamping system unveiled

Introduced at last month’s MACH 2018 by 1st MTA was a new zero-point clamping system from V-Tech (pictured). For clamping workpieces on CNC machining centres, this pneumatic quick-change system features 24 kN retraction of the clamping pin in each receiver, and a positioning accuracy of better than 5 µm.

Mechanical vices, clamping chucks and bars, and special workholding fixtures, can be accommodated in the receivers, while positioning slots allow precise 90° indexing. The self-clamping mechanism, which uses high-power springs to secure the workpiece and fixture, ensures that the force is still applied after the air has been disconnected. Pneumatic power is only required again for release. Clamping bases are available to hold one, two, four or six receivers, which are 135 mm in diameter but only 41 mm high, so little Z-axis travel is lost.
With regard to rotary tables, on show was Kitagawa’s latest TT150 tilting-type compound table with 150 mm faceplate. The TT150 is designed to be interfaced directly with a machining centre control or operated via a MAC mini controller. Also featured was the heavy-duty GT series models that deliver clamping torques up to 2800 Nm.
Elsewhere on the stand, 1st MTA demonstrated a Chick Indexer SubSystem (ISS), showing how more components could be presented to a machining centre spindle by adding a fourth axis. Another Chick product on show was the latest lightweight version of its One-Lok clamping system, which is pitched as a superior alternative to the conventional wind-up vice.
To further support its workholding offer, 1st MTA presented permanent electromagnetic clamping systems and materials handling products from Tecnomagnete, while MillTec Grip magnetic workholding systems were displayed for five-axis and five-sided metal-cutting applications.
For further information www.1mta.com

Workholding in the spotlight

Giving manufacturers complete control and increased speed over their machining operations was high on the agenda when Hyfore headed to MACH 2018. The workholding specialist displayed the latest technology from eight global principals, including advancements in vices, clamp jaws, high-speed tool holders and roller drive rotary tables.

Hyfore also strengthened its relationship as the sole UK distributor of Midaco by showcasing a small pallet receiver, which demonstrated what the pallet changers could look like on a machining table.
“Industrial companies today – at all levels of the supply chain – are looking to get the most out of their machines, whether that is speed, accuracy or capacity,” explains Gary Dickenson, managing director of Hyfore. “One of the ways they can do that is improving the workholding and making sure the part is held in a way that offers the optimum manufacturing efficiency and improves the life of the machine tool.
“This is why MACH was such an important show for us and one where we demonstrated possible solutions and had experts on hand who could talk though bespoke fixtures and some of the other technologies that may help,” he adds. “We are the only UK supplier of products from major brands such as Spreitzer, Matrix, Acrow, Hardinge, Buck, Midaco, Sankyo, UCAM and Kosmek. There was plenty to talk about at the show.”
For further information www.hyfore.com

JJ Churchill halves machining operations

Aerospace engineering firm JJ Churchill has reduced its tooling costs by 5% with a 50% reduction in the number of machining operations on a specific critical part. This has been achieved with Blue Photon technology, which is marketed in the UK and Europe by NCMT.

The technology is being applied to an aerofoil blade component made from titanium aluminide, an extremely difficult material to fixture and machine. Blue Photon fixes the component to the tool with an adhesive, which cures under UV light, making it strong enough for rigorous machining techniques. The process is a replacement for encapsulation, providing reduced fixture complexity. Operation reduction is achieved by fixing on to a single face of the component, as opposed to potentially many faces.
Locating on a single face provides access to other faces, enabling several complex features to be machined at the same time. This capability delivers greater precision during machining, and ultimately reduces the amount of metal wasted/scrapped.
Once the blade root and tip have been machined (held using Blue Photon technology), the workpiece is transferred to a Starrag five-axis machining centre, in this case a 28 kW/18,000 rpm LX051. The workpiece is held in specifically-developed fixtures for the complete machining of the aerofoil from forged blanks that are, at most, 5 mm oversize.
The impact on JJ Churchill’s overall production is to increase capacity, which is essential as the company continues its growth trajectory, while also benefitting the environment. Using Blue Photon reduces the electricity required for the process.
For further information www.jjchurchill.com

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