Guest Blog: John Zaya
Clamp confirmation for any system, UNILOCK or otherwise, is a sound design criterion when building any workholding system.
It is very common to see clamp/un-clamp confirmation in many automated loading systems as safety interlocking of the CNC machine, robot, robot EOA (end-of-arm) tooling, and workholding can all be integrated to a single master control.
Un-clamp confirmation does have a place in manual situations as well, mostly in large part processing, where cranes are used to lift parts off.
When a clamping system is not directly visible underneath a large part, then this requires an external indicator confirming that the system has successfully un-clamped and that it is safe to lift.
The indicators and sensors can be pneumatic switches which are offered by BIG KAISER or electrical proximity switches as offered by many other companies.
We are very excited to announce that we are now able to offer on-site technical training to YOUR machinists at YOUR location! This is offered at no charge to customers who use any of the manufacturer's whom we represent in California and Nevada.
However, just because you don't purchase things from us, don't feel left out! We also offer on-site topic specter training on any of the following topics for $150/hour.
Each presentation lasts about 2 hours. The presentations last approximately 45-60 minutes with the remaining time for Q&A and discussion about unique applications in your facility.
Training Classes Available:
Advanced Part Manufacturing:
Complex part shapes have time consuming part loads to assure the part is properly nested before machining. Blue Photon makes a hard to load part easy and reduces the number of loads.
Traditional workholding does not usually utilize a machine’s full capabilities because of limited machining access therefore multiple workholding fixtures and process steps are required.
*Labor cost per part was calculated @ $50.00 per hour, based on 21 hours run time per (3) 8 hour shifts/5 day work weeks. 6,240 total hrs. per year
How the blue photon system realized reduce labor cost
With Blue Photon workholding technology, once the part is bonded to the transfer tool it can be loaded into all machines using the same machine mounted workholding fixture system such as Erowa, System 3R etc. The workpiece loads in seconds.
The ability of Blue Photon workholding technology to hold the workpiece on one side providing 5 and in some cases 6 side machining access is unheard of when machining castings and other near-net shape parts.
There is also reduced foot print for this cell and reduced capital investment to create the cell because multiple operations can be done in one workholding.
The concept of using guide pins to load large fixtures has been around for a long time, and it even applies when incorporating Unilock zero-point clamping systems in your fixturing.
The main Unilock clamping knob is very robust, i.e.: very hard, and as such it can cause damage to a Unilock chuck if a fixture is very heavy or large.
Guide pins are set up on the base, and their corresponding holes or notches located on the edge of the fixture pre-position the fixture so, that as it is being lowered, the knobs do not impact the critical location faces of the clamping chuck.
This also has the added benefit of keeping operators in a safe location not having to use their hands & fingers to fine-adjust a slightly out-of-place fixture being lowered.
Matt Saccomanno, the inventor of the Microconic Workholding system discussed how it works at IMTS 2016.
Masa Tool has developed the Microconic™ system specifically for holding workpieces from Ø0.15mm to 10mm (Ø0.006" to 0.390") in any machine that has a collet-type chuck.
The system consists of two major components: The Microconic™ cartridge, which fits into your CNC machine spindle replacing the standard 5C, TF20 or TF25 collets, and the Microconic™ collet, which fits in the Microconic™ cartridge.
The Microconic™ system has unsurpassed concentricity: Our manufacturing tolerance is 3µm (.0001") and we guarantee our cartridges to be within 5µm (0.0002") in production use in your machine.
The Microconic™ system works with either draw-type or push-type standard collet systems that are in any machine.
The Over-grip collet capabilities of Masa Microconic™ System, introduces a whole new world of time saving opportunities awaiting. Our Overgrip Collets open up to 4mm (0.157") diameter larger than the clamping diameter.
In case you missed the episode of 5th Axis vises on How Its Made, you can re-watch it right here.
This may be useful in explaining what you do in your job.... even though there's a lot of talk about "carving", "shaping" and "Sculpting"
Types of Workholding There are many ways to skin a cat. Dedicated fixtures have more or less fallen by the wayside just like dedicated transfer lines. This trend will probably continue for two primary reasons:
SPEED is the KEY! Modular fixturing is a great idea, but as your customers begin to demand faster turnaround and smaller lot sizes just the fact that you can re-use your tooling components doesn’t always help. What matters, remember, is spindle up-time. Taking apart your components and setting up others takes TIME. So there has been a demand for new innovations from Workholding manufacturers in both modular AND Quick Change fixturing. Have you ever found yourself thinking: “I need fast set-ups, good repeatability, and quick changeover… and I want the tooling to be modular to a point where I don’t have to completely disassemble everything.”
They will also allow you to set up you fixtures off-line. That is, they will allow you to set the fixtures up OUT of the machining center. They key benefit to this is that you can still continue to make chips on one job while setting up another outside of the machine
Another major benefit to these types of systems is that they will enable you to make quick changeovers. If your total “in-the-cut” machining time is 5 minutes but it takes you 10 minutes to change out the new parts and put in more raw material these system can save you a great deal of time.
There are two issues to look at when considering a certain type of fixture:
The mPower SpeedLock and ModLoc fixturing system show in the video above is one of the foundation systems that you may want to consider as part of a shop wide set up and changeover reduction process. Consider all of the types and sizes of the parts in your shop and then determine which baseplate size to start with that can provide you with the most versatility. The process of standardizing your workholding will take some time, but once complete you can move jobs around with the same simplicity as when your kids are playing with their lego's.
Technical Support Blog
At Next Generation Tool we often run into many of the same technical questions from different customers. This section should answer many of your most common questions.
We set up this special blog for the most commonly asked questions and machinist data tables for your easy reference.
If you've got a question that's not answered here, then just send us a quick note via email or reach one of us on our CONTACTS page here on the website
Our technical section is written by several different people. Sometimes, it's from our team here at Next Generation Tooling & at other times it's by one of the innovative manufacturer's we represent in California and Nevada.