Tag Archives: BBNES

  • 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.

  • Seven Years and Still Turning: AllPoints Pipe Service and SMW Autoblok

    AllPoints_logoIn 2008, AllPoints Pipe Service came to SMW Autoblok looking for workholding solutions for their new CNC machines. Based in El Reno, OK, AllPoints provides oilfield pipe users with a variety of cleaning, straightening, threading, testing and inspecting services.

    At the time, AllPoints was looking to expand their business. The old machines they were using were not very efficient, making the company less profitable overall. They began looking for ways to increase productivity, and incorporated a new CNC machine for better speed and accuracy. The machine tool builder strongly recommended SMW Autoblok’s chucks to complement their new machine and keep up with the increased pace of production.

    Because AllPoints is not in a sealed building, they needed a chuck that was durable enough to withstand the harsh environment and be protected from dirt, water and other debris. They were also looking for a chuck that could be run two shifts a day with minimal downtime.

    BigBorecroppedTo meet these demands, they chose SMW Autoblok’s BIG BORE® Air Chucks, more specifically, the BBN-ES. This front-end pneumatic power chuck is built with a robust design for long lasting durability in any environment. Ideal for the external clamping of long tubes and pipes, this BIG BORE® has an extended jaw stroke and offers the full use of the spindle bore. The built-in pneumatic cylinder and non-return valves maintain air pressure during machining for enhanced accuracy, while the rapid clamping stroke allows for shorter clamping cycles.

    By adding the BBN-ES to their new CNC machine, AllPoints was able to increase productivity, generating three times more parts per hour than before and allowing them to expand their business to keep up with their competitors.

    Seven years later, AllPoints continues to partner with SMW Autoblok for all of their workholding needs. Today, they own four CNC machines that run 16 hours per day, and all utilize BIG BORE® Air Chucks. Although their work is rigorous, these chucks have continued to perform shift after shift.

    Mike Sleeper, CEO & Partner of AllPoints Pipe, is pleased with the partnership they’ve developed with SMW Autoblok over the years. “No matter what, they stand behind their product. If there’s ever any issues, we can always come to them to resolve the problem. SMW Autoblok is easy to work with and has been a good relationship for both parties. I would absolutely recommend them to others.”




  • 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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