Indexing Chucks: Clamp Once and Run ‘til You’re Done

axn_mainWant to save time and money machining complex parts? If you run components like universal joints, couplings, valve bodies and fittings that require machining on more than one face, indexing chucks are the way to go. These time savers allow you to work all sides of a workpiece without removing the part from the lathe.

Faster Production Plus
It stands to reason that machining on multiple sides of a part with one clamp would increase overall efficiency. And every machinist knows that there is a risk of reduced accuracy every time a workpiece is unclamped and re-clamped back into the lathe. Indexing chucks are the best of both worlds. Automated indexing of parts reduces cycle times, increases accuracy and enhances quality.

How It Works
The clamping system of indexing chucks consists of a stationary jaw (indexing jaw) and clamping jaw. The weight of these jaws is kept to a minimum to reduce the effect of centrifugal force. SMW Autoblok clamping systems utilize a special centrifugal force compensation system on the clamping jaw. During rotation of the chuck, centrifugal forces acting on a counterweight inside the chuck increase the pressure to the clamping cylinder to minimize loss of grip force. 

Automatic indexing is regulated by a hydraulic plunger system controlled by CNC electrical signals. Proximity sensors identify each index angle to verify the index position. In fact, our chucks won’t operate if the part is not in the proper position.

Tips For Best Performance
Most parts are not balanced, so vibration during spindle rotation while machining will affect overall quality. We design custom jaws to fit specific part configurations, adding or removing weight to the jaws/chuck to achieve balance. Attention to detail such as the sequence in which the sides of the part are machined can also help reduce the tremors.

Another suggestion is to allow for quick changing between the multiple working axes by indexing during spindle rotation. Just be sure to keep the RPMs low.

Value-Added Indexing Chucks
At SMW Autoblok, we offer a variety of indexing combinations: 4 x 90 degrees, 8 x 45 degrees, 3 x 120 degrees, 6 x 60 degrees and other custom angles as requested. Internal components of our chucks are hardened and ground to insure long life, rigidity and accuracy. Indexing/clamping components are constantly lubricated and the use of roller bearings reduces friction during the indexing process.

If you’re tired of clamping and unclamping the same part over and over, consider indexing chucks. If you would like to discuss your particular needs, please contact us.