Tag Archives: pull down chucks

  • 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.

  • 5 Secrets of Machining Perfect Thin-Walled Components

    Machining thin-walled components made out of materials like bronze, brass or aluminum can definitely be a challenge. We have quite a few customers who ask us for advice while test cutting a new part, or even after they’ve started production and have found a high percentage of parts hitting the scrap bin. They usually say the same thing, “It’s either out-of-round or distorted!” Holding a part strong enough to counter the cutting forces, but not so tight that it causes deformation, can be tricky. The good news is our engineers have some troubleshooting secrets that help you hit that “sweet spot” every time.

    Secret # 1: It’s Not Just the Chuck

    The main problem with machining quality thin-walled components is that there is usually more than one issue. Chucks take a lot of the blame, but deformed parts are usually caused by a combination of equipment and technique. Besides the chuck, other issues that need to be considered are the number of points of contact, the cylinder size and what we call the Big Picture.

    IMG_2013Secret # 2: Look at the Big Picture

    Many customers will tell us that the components are deformed coming off the last operation of a three or four-step process. This may be true, but what was the condition of the part going into the final operation? This is where our team needs to turn into detectives. We consult with the customer to determine the current process and what problems are occurring before we suggest corrective solutions.

    We always start our investigation with the first step. For example, if an operator is using pie (wrap around) jaws in earlier stages, they will force a non-round part round for machining. But when the jaws are released, the elasticity of the part allows it to spring back out of round to its natural state. This “out-of-round” condition continues to the final stage, where it may not be possible to correct.

    Secret # 3: Too Much Muscle

    Most customers and process engineers don't think in terms of what is behind the spindle when running thin-walled components. When we start investigating deformation issues, we usually start with the size of the cylinder. We follow this up with the key question: "What is the input pressure to the cylinder?" From this we can calculate the clamping forces (Piston Area X Input Pressure = Pull/Push Force). After gathering all the cutting force variables for a job, the math will tell us what kind of clamping forces are required for a successful run. This often leads us to the conclusion that the existing cylinder is too large.

    The only way you can mitigate that issue is to decrease the piston area on the cylinder, and the only way to do that is to use a new, smaller cylinder. We often find that customers run a whole family of parts across the same machine, which can sometimes pose a problem. But usually, when we do the math and determine the highest clamping force they use on that system, cranking up a smaller cylinder allows them to reach the maximum force they need.

    IMG_1985Secret # 4: Use the Right Chuck

    If you use a 3-jaw chuck, all the force is concentrated in three spots on the workpiece. When we simulate runs on a job using a 3-jaw chuck on a thin-walled component, the part is usually distorted beyond tolerance, usually matching the difficulties the customer is having. Moving from a 3-jaw chuck design to a 6-jaw model spreads the force over more contact points. In fact, just switching to a 6-jaw chuck can provide a 17 times improvement in deformation over 3 jaws. Making the switch to the appropriate 6-jaw chuck usually brings the part well within print tolerances. This is our number one recommended solution for thin walled parts.

    The following chucks are ideal for the clamping of deformation sensitive components. SJL-C chucks are designed for very thin-walled, small-diameter parts. They have high radial and axial clamping accuracy, and are ideal for high speeds. IEP-D chucks are suitable for both horizontal and vertical machining applications. They can handle heavy-duty jobs up to 1,600mm. TEF-C chucks have a low profile, making them well suited for machines with limited Z-axis stroke. TSF-C Pull Down Chucks have floating jaws (to clamp out-of-round parts) and are designed for clamping workpieces with a high demand for parallelism.

    Secret # 5: Add Top Jaws

    Finally, for customers that need parallelism and concentricity, we recommend using specialized top jaws that are designed and built with pivot points and wide top inserts that will reach out 30 degrees to the right and 30 degrees to the left. The result? This increases the number of contact points from 3 to 6 (on a 3-jaw chuck) and gains the same 17 times improvement, while helping keep out-of-round rough material in it’s natural shape during clamping.

    It’s no secret that our engineers can help you with any workholding problem you might have. If you would like to discuss customized solutions for working thin-walled components, please contact us.

  • SMW TX Series: TX-RV and TX-C

    txc_mainFor exceptional parallelism and productivity, SMW Autoblok’s TX Series chucks are top of the line. The TX-RV and the TX-C are high precision pull-down chucks with a rigid 3-jaw design, providing excellent repeatability within 0.0005”.

    The TX Series is ideal for inner diameter (ID) and outer diameter (OD) clamping offering optimal stability and centrifugal force compensation. With active pull-down, a function only offered by SMW Autoblok, these chucks perform three operations. The pre-clamping function centralizes the chuck, the work piece is then pulled down onto locators, and finally it is clamped firmly into place.

    tx-rvThe TX-C is a tongue and groove chuck, while the TX-RV is a quick jaw change chuck, which can be reconfigured effortlessly for superior flexibility. Additionally, both the TX-C and the TX-RV allow for milling and turning on the same chuck for maximum production efficiency.

    The TX Series comes fully sealed as part of our Proofline Series of chucks, greatly reducing overall maintenance versus the competition. Plus the permanent lubrication offered by these oil filled chucks helps maintain consistent grip force shift after shift.

    With a longer lifetime and optimal productivity, our TX Series ensures consistent quality of work pieces to keep your production running smoothly.

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