Clamping force blocks offer sufficient potential for process optimization

For many decades, vices and clamping force blocks were said to be indispensable helpers in production. Their basic principle is still unchanged: Workpieces are clamped between two chuck jaws so that their position remains unchanged, even under high force applications. But the basic requirements of modern vises go much further: They fix the parts fully automated within seconds, ensure a high degree of flexibility, and a direct process monitoring at the component. Intelligently used, they are the key factors on the way to highly efficient processes.

For getting an impression of the manifold application scenarios of modern clamping force blocks, it is preferable to look at the program of TANDEM plus clamping force blocks from SCHUNK. The competence leader for gripping systems and clamping technology bundles durable, compact, versatile precision clamping force blocks with a slim profile in one single series. Workpieces can be clamped quickly and fully automated at a high clamping force, or depending on the version, they can be manually converted. The program comprises more than 50 standard variants. The spectrum includes manually, pneumatically or hydraulically actuated versions up to spring-loaded vises for the use in media-free workpiece storages, from sizes 64 to 250 mm, from standard- to long-stoke versions, up to vises with fixed jaw. SCHUNK TANDEM plus vises are suitable for top jaws with tongue and groove and for jaws with fine serration.

Advantages of the modular system

The modular design opens up various new fields of application. Regardless of whether it is fully automated small parts clamping, the use of palletizing systems or combined clamping of long parts. SCHUNK falls back to the identical core components time and again. This provides a first-class economical option to the users, reduces the spares inventory, allows fast adaption to new circumstances, and ensures manifold possibilities of further use after a program change. With its square base surface and its compact dimensions, the vises permit a dense arrangement, and numerous parts can be prepared for the application on the tombstones deposited in a workpiece storage, and they can be exchanged in the machine at the same time.

Wide spectrum of application

Where there are many possibilities, and a wide range of applications, power vises come into play. They can be used on base plates for machine tables, as well as on tombstones, rotary tables, 3-way pyramid brackets, multi-clamping vises or clamping pallets; horizontal, vertical or upside down; in 3-, 4- or 5-axis machining centers, and also in transfer or revolving machines; in the tightly scheduled mass production, but also on pallet systems for manufacturing smaller and medium lot sizes.

Sophisticated clamping technology

The SCHUNK TANDEM plus clamping force blocks are setting benchmarks with their synergy of compactness, clamping force, and precision. Their one-piece, rigid base body, the wedge hook kinematics and the long, ground jaw guidance ensure concentrated clamping forces of up to 44 kN in confined spaces. At the same time, they ensure an excellent repeat accuracy of up to 0.01 mm. They are also suitable for demanding milling operations with a high metal removal rate, high number of cycles, and minimum tolerances. Their optimized outside contour is a special design of base jaws and cover strips, and the minimum gap dimension and cover plugs for the fastening screws prevent the build-up of dust pockets or chips in the vise which might cause permanent residue. Special fitting screws ensure that the vise can be exchanged at a high repeat accuracy. All the versions are equipped with a dual lubrication system, and the jaw-, piston guidance, and the diagonal pull can be optionally supplied with grease by hand with a high-pressure grease gun or centrically through the connection on the bottom. Penetrating coolant is drained to the outside through coolant drain holes. A sinter filter prevents the buildup of chips in the chuck body.

Short set-up times are paired with high precision

The different jaw quick-change systems are unique on the market. They transform the SCHUNK TANDEM plus clamping force blocks into more flexible and precise powerhouses. The tool-free jaw quick-change system SCHUNK BWM reduces the time for a complete jaw change independent from the position of installation to less than 30 seconds when it is combined with the compact and high-performance SCHUNK TANDEM KSP plus clamping force blocks of the sizes 100, 160, and 250. The repeat accuracy amounts to 0.02 mm. Since the base and change jaws are connected with each other through an integrated diagonal pull, the interfering contour of the vise remains unchanged. A spring mechanism ensures that the change jaw will not fall out when opened. Since the locking can be optionally opened from above, behind, or from both sides, the set-up time turbo can be also used in confined spaces without any limitation. A smoothly running drive ensures simple operation. The quick-change system is suitable for standard jaws, clamping inserts, and workpiece-specific change jaws.

With the support jaw system SCHUNK TANDEM TBA-D in turn it is possible to cover complete clamping ranges for the stationary workpiece clamping by using clamping inserts from the SCHUNK standard chuck jaw program. Instead of needing many different special jaws, the user just needs some standard inserts and the TANDEM TBA-D support jaw system. This reduces the investment volume and the implementation time for the matching clamping solution to a minimum. Due to the standard interface, various jaws for raw and finished parts clamping are available: Grip jaws, stepped jaws, prism jaws, soft jaws and jaws with pull-down function, with T-groove and many others. The support jaw is mounted with four each screws on the base jaw of the clamping force block ensuring maximum rigidity. With the fine serration the jaws can be flexibly varied in position in a few simple steps. SCHUNK TANDEM TBA-D is available in three sizes for clamping ranges from 8 mm to 70 mm, 18 to 120 mm or 30 to 200 mm. It is suitable for outside clamping on TANDEM plus clamping force blocks of the sizes 100, 160, and 250. Another advantage of both quick-change systems, the BWM and TBA-D can be retrofitted any time if required, which ensures a high investment security.

Efficient automation

The SCHUNK TANDEM plus vises develop their greatest strength in applications of automated loading. TANDEM KSA plus clamping forces can be automatically actuated by active base plates (ABP-a) or by base plates with fast coupling (SBP), or can be externally controlled. Actuation is done by an electric signal, which releases the actuation with compressed air or through a direct actuation with compressed air. The base plates allow separate actuation of several clamping blocks and in this connection ensure efficient processes, particularly if other clamping blocks are loaded in parallel to the ongoing process, so that in an extreme case a 24 hours/7 days operation can be realized, without very little interruption.

Particularly when used in automated loading processes, the TANDEM plus clamping force blocks with fixed jaw ensure that the zero point is immediately and exactly defined, which prevents a shifting of the reference point. Moreover, the clamping force blocks of the same version can be connected in series, allowing the clamping of long parts such as profiles. On option, the vises with fixed jaw can be pneumatically actuated (version KSP-F plus) or hydraulically, (version KSH-F plus). In order to ensure maximum flexibility in automated applications, the individual TANDEM plus vises or complete pallets with several vises can be exchanged with one interface to the SCHUNK VERO-S quick-change pallet system in just a few steps, and are centrically controlled. The machines can be retrofitted extremely fast and process-reliable.

Intelligent networking for the Smart Factory

Not least in view to the background of increasing automation and flexibility, and to go digital in terms of Industry 4.0, SCHUNK has set itself the goal to benefit from the position of their gripping systems and clamping units, ”closest-to-the-part“ in order to monitor each individual process step, and to permanently supply the system control and the higher level ERP system with process data. Starting at vise size 100, the pneumatically actuated TANDEM KSP plus clamping force blocks can be flexibly detected over the complete jaw stroke today. No matter if ID or OD clamping: The positions, ”opened“ or ”clamped” can be adjusted in a few steps. Monitoring is done by two inductive proximity switches, which are integrated in the special slots of the base jaws. The system is self-contained and resistant against dirt. Since the signal can be directly processed in the machine control, the vises can be quickly and easily integrated into existing machines.

Source:SCHUNK

More information

On SCHUNK’s official website.