For the novice metalworker, woodworker or backyard tinkerer, workholding methods stretch about as far as bog-standard clamps and vices. For manufacturers however, the demand for increased efficiency and the ability to customise for individual specifications has seen some incredible advances in the market. These days, it’s all about time-saving, increased efficiency and less messing around.
Vacuum chuck from TCI
Tricky parts which don’t lend themselves to clamps and vices need no longer result in pulled hair and tears shed, thanks to TCI Precision Metals’ new solution. Their vacuum workholding products can tackle a number of parts and can be used in grinders, rotary tables, horizontal and vertical machining centres and routers. These vacuum solutions increase overall efficiency by decreasing handling time, as well as offering better access, and that’s good news for all. Available in a range of standard sizing options, and also able to be custom ordered, TCI are really championing the advance of customisable machinery, for today’s increasingly varied manufacturing needs.
Vice and pallet combo from Jergens
Another time-saving solution which ultimately leads to increased efficiency (and no small amount of sanity-retention) is the universal, quick-change vice and ‘Drop & Lock’ pallet from Jergens. This 125mm vice, coupled with 96mm Drop & Lock pallet work in unison to provide speedy access to parts, as well as lightning fast swap out. The vice is not only self-centring, but features a small footprint and low profile which makes working around it that much easier. Compatible with all Jergens five-axis Fixture Pro multi-axis and Makro-Grip workholding solutions, this combo is incredibly versatile.
No pre-stamping with ETG
UK-based ETG have paired up with Spreitzer as exclusive British supplier of their clamping and measuring tools. Focusing on the MZR range, which are able to secure without the need for pre-stamping. Needless to say, this solution frees up a lot of time in the handling process. Raw materials can be positioned and clamped extremely quickly, ready for machining in no time at all.
“There are many options for raw material clamping but the vice is only part of the solution. Raw materials mostly need pre-stamping, which adds further cost over and above the purchase cost of the vice and adds time to what is essentially a very straight forward operation,” says ETG’s product manager Rob Beckit. “MZR vices are ideal for working on multi-axis machining centres, as they are a compact design with a small trunnion footprint yet still offer maximum access and the ability to enlarge the clamping width with reversible jaws.”
Each of these solutions, while suited to different tasks, offer the user increased efficiency and the ability to work easily around parts. As workholding solutions continue to improve, and suppliers increasingly offer customisation options, large manufacturers and smaller operators alike can find a product which suits their needs.