Tag Archives: BB-N ES

  • Workholding: We Rank the Best Chucks from 2018

    SMW chuck collageBetween IMTS and the way our business continues to grow, it seems like this past year has just flown by. Before we wrap things up for the holidays and start looking towards 2019, we thought it might be interesting to stop for a moment and reflect on the outstanding chucks of the past 12 months. So, here’s our ranking of the top 5 models of the year.

    #1: KNCS-N/ KNCS-NB/ KNCS-2G
    At the head of the list again is our best-selling chuck series. The top quick jaw change chuck on the market – with jaws that can be changed out in less than a minute. Robust, versatile and agile, it continues to sell well across all industry segments.

    #2: BB-N / BB-N-ES
    The BB-N-ES was the first chuck specifically developed for end machining of long pipe with a full spindle bore. Perfect for oil and gas applications. It was made possible by two principles invented by SMW Autoblok, air supply via distributor ring and SMW-profile seal rings.

    #3: SP
    Smaller versions of the BB-N style chucks with OCTG being the primary market, these chucks are also handy for use in static or near static applications because of their built-in air cylinder. They are ideal for rotary tables/indexers in milling applications as well.

    #4: NT Series
    The NT chuck is a completely sealed Proofline® product, making them ideal for dry machining of castings and forgings, as well as high pressure coolant applications. Very popular in the automotive industry, especially for wheel and brake component work.

    #5: TS Series
    Our premier pull down chuck, this style fits best in production environments with high parallelism and perpendicularity call outs. Their constant grip force ensures consistent quality of workpieces. Automotive and aerospace applications are common, but they are becoming a force in the medical segment as well.

    Too Good to Ignore
    Honorable mention goes to our Steady Rest products, our new APS Zero Point Clamping System and the Cylinder series. We’ve seen increased interest in each of these product lines this past year.

    Onward to 2019
    No one can tell what the future will bring, but it’s certain that our engineers and sales teams will never stop looking for ways to better meet your workholding needs. If you have a special requirement, give us a call.

  • SMW Autoblok Innovates Oil Country Workholding

    oil-pump-jack-sunset-clouds-silhouette-162568There is no real problem with threading a pipe. Most DIY types can do it in their workshop with hand tools. But when the pipe is 40 feet long and ordered by the ton, you’re in oil country. And that is another whole proposition.

    Pumping crude oil out of the ground requires drill pipe, casing, tool joints, tees, crosses, flanges, couplings…well, you get the idea. The thing is, all those items need to be machined. And that takes specialized workholding developed by SMW Autoblok. But how did we come to have such a big footprint in oil country in the first place? Well, it’s not an exaggeration to say that we revolutionized the entire OCTG workholding methodology.

    OCTG Challenges
    Oil country tubulars are big, heavy and very hard to handle. Underground, they are subjected to extreme pressure, torque, internal expansion and contraction, and side loads. The trick is to thread the pipe within API tolerances for a continuous drill string that can gradually curve over half a mile without breaking the seal and creating leaks. But there are a lot of variables to be considered. Oil companies purchase their pipe from different mills and use different thread types for each unique subsurface condition. Threading companies are contracted to thread each pipe end. Many of these have their own proprietary thread profile geometry that must be machined to exacting tolerances.

    OCTG pipe manufacturing process
    Currently seamless OCTG drill pipe, casing and tubing diameters are formed by forcing a steel billet over High-Toe-Angle Piercer rollers with extreme force. This technology dynamically sizes the pipe to the desired diameter. All products are quality controlled to meet stringent API (American Petroleum Industry) standards. Ultimately, the pipe is then shipped to threading companies all over the world.

    How It Used to Be Done
    When you think of OCTG, you probably visualize the pipe being straight as an arrow. In reality, it can droop on the ends (end hook) or sag in the middle. Any material run-out exceeding the combined pipe wall thickness and thread form geometry is a problem. If the run-out is not corrected to rotate concentric within the machine spindle centerline, the thread geometry will not fully form due to the lack of material (these are known as “black threads”). Aligning the pipe to the machine centerline is essential and used to be done manually.

    A pipe rack load handling system would present 40’ long sections of pipe to a lathe, passing it through the rear of the lathe spindle to manually actuated front and rear chucks. Once clamped at both ends, the operator would manually align the pipe to the lathe spindle centerline by turning the master jaw pinion with a massive wrench. The process required plenty of muscle and could take up to 20 minutes to perform. 

    bbes_mainEnter the Big Bore®
    Things changed considerably for most pipe diameters (14.8” or less at first, now up to 22”!) with the release of the Big Bore BB-N ES front-end pneumatic power chuck. The BB-N ES was the first chuck specifically developed for end machining of long pipe with a full spindle bore. It was made possible by two principles invented by SMW Autoblok, air supply via distributor ring and SMW-profile seal rings. Built in non-return valves maintain the air pressure during machining and the clamping pressure level is constantly checked by a safety control system. Pipe is loaded on a table, goes through a lathe and is threaded and clamped with less effort.

    This was a great improvement over the manual method, but aligning the center could still take 5 minutes or more. In addition, a shim was needed between one jaw and the pipe to push the pipe into alignment with the spindle centerline of the lathe.

    Auto Centering Becomes a Reality
    The introduction of the BB-FZA in the 90s introduced the oil industry to auto centering. For the first time, repeatable, accurate auto centering of OCTG pipe was possible without human intervention (and the risk of error). Shims were no longer needed, which alone was a great safety feature.

    BB-FZA2G mit RohrA True Workholding Revolution
    Things were better, but we still weren’t satisfied. Our engineering teams in the USA and Germany set out to reinvent the centering process. In 2012, a new generation of chuck, the BB-FZA2G, was introduced. It uses three integrated centering jaws that moves forward angularly and axially to center the pipe exactly at the area to be threaded. The three compensating jaws then grip the pipe in the eccentric position, and the centering jaws retract axially into the chuck body. The whole alignment process only takes 11 seconds!

    Needless to say, with timesavings like that, the BB-FZA2G took the oil industry by storm. Today it is the standard for high efficiency machining of OCTG. But there were more innovations to come from our engineers. Our next article in this series will look at the difficulties in achieving accurate machining for larger diameter (14.8” or larger) pipes that are bent or sagging.

    If you would like to discuss your service requirements in oil country or anywhere in the United States, please contact us.

  • Meet Our Top 5 Chucks for 2017

    We’re looking forward to the holidays with a great deal of satisfaction. We made a lot of customers happy over the past 12 months. But each year there are some products that stand out more than others in the line. As we head for 2018, we thought we’d take the opportunity to rank the top 5 models of the past year and provide a little information on why they made the cut. Let’s get to it.

    Always our best selling chuck series. The top quick jaw change chuck on the market. Robust, versatile, and agile, it sells well across all industries.

    #2: BH SERIES
    Simple, but effective, these chucks are the most basic open center chuck we sell, ranging from 130mm - 800mm. This style of chuck can be used across a wide range of industries.

    #3: BB-N / BB-N-ES
    Our air chucks are used almost exclusively in the oil and gas industry. They are paired with some of the largest horizontal lathes on the market to do pipe work. After being off the list for a while, the beginning of a resurgence in oil and gas drilling in the U.S. has brought this product back into the top 5 for 2017.

    #4: TS SERIES
    This is our premier pull down chuck. This style fits best in production environments with high parallelism and perpendicularity call outs. They are used most often for automotive and aerospace applications, but we have also seen a growing use in the medical market.

    ntrc_main#5: NT series
    The NT chuck is a completely sealed Proofline® product that we see used most often in automotive and other cast iron applications. This year we have seen a surge in requests for long stroke chucks, such as the NTL sub series, for cast aluminum applications. Expect a long run for this series on the top 5 lists of the future. It has become a very popular choice for wheel and brake component work over the last few years.

    What the New Year Will Bring
    It will be interesting to see which direction our customers’ needs will go in the new year. But rest assured, whatever happens, we will be standing by to provide you the best solutions and service possible. The years may come and go, but that commitment is always number one on our list.

  • Holding More with the BIG BORE®: Bauman Machine and SMW Autoblok

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a business relationship spanning almost three decades, SMW Autoblok has gotten to know exactly what Bauman Machine needs to keep their shop running smoothly. In business since 1973, Bauman Machine specializes in the manufacture of components for the oil and gas industry. For larger diameter and extended length turning applications, they rely on SMW Autoblok to hold their products in place.

    When working on shafts, pipe threading and rethreading applications, Bauman Machine primarily uses SMW Autoblok’s air chucks and hydraulic chucks. With the ability to hold long and extended length pipes and shafts, the BIG BORE® (BB-N) and the BIG BORE® ES (BB-N ES) are their most frequently used chucks. Offering the full capacity of the spindle bore, these 3-jaw front-end pneumatic power chucks feature extra large through holes for machining large diameter parts. Built-in non-return valves maintain air pressure during machining, while a safety control system routinely monitors the clamping pressure on external clamping applications, giving these chucks excellent repeatability.

    bbes_mainBauman Machine was not as productive with chucks from other manufacturers in the past, experiencing increased down time due to frequent maintenance issues and a general lack of reliability. With SMW Autoblok’s innovative chuck design, Bauman Machine has seen a 30-40% increase in uptime and dramatically reduced maintenance problems. The reliability and repeatability offered by the BIG BORE® BB-N and BB-N ES chucks give Bauman Machine the ability to produce 20,000 pieces of pipe in a year on just two machines.

    Mark McCarty, President of Bauman Machine, has been with the company for 20 years and is very satisfied with SMW Autoblok. “They are dependable, not only in the quality and concentricity of their chucks but in their customer service as well. Anytime we need a part, they’re quick to respond and send us what we need. If we have a new application that needs workholding, they know the right chuck to get the job done efficiently.”

    SMW Autoblok’s Mid-States Regional Sales Manager Mick Lang has been involved with Bauman since 1995. “I remember the first chuck I sold to them was an air chuck. After that, our service and support sold them the rest.”

    With our BIG BORE® line, SMW Autoblok has been able to help specialized shops, like Bauman Machine, maintain repeatable and efficient part production to keep their clients coming back time and time again.

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