CNC Workholding for Milling Machines

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DATRON_Workholding_Solutions from DATRON Dynamics on Vimeo.

In the world of manufacturing, specifically machining of material, there is an art to proper CNC workholding.

You may have the concept and design of a valuable product or part, the program skillfully complete with the optimum machine and material.  But if you do not have a means to hold the material during your process, rigid throughout all surfaces and vibration free, the race is lost.  “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”  This quote is fully understood by every machinist, tool and die maker, Production Cell Supervisor, Project and Plant Manager.  Nothing will stop a successful process in it’s tracks like material poorly held causing tool breakage, material slip, high scrap rates, possible machine damage and worse, potential operator injury.  A fixture, a fixture my process needs a fixture!

At DATRON we have heard this cry many years ago and sought solutions to be used with our machines for the many varied process requirements that the DATRON machine is used for.  These had to be versatile, minimal labor requirement for use, repeated usage, allow accuracies to match the DATRON machine and like the DATRON machine provide thousands of hours of reliable use.

Another great benefit of using tested CNC workholding with your DATRON machine is the savings of time and material loss.  Once you have optimized your product, program, material and machine process the last element to review and add profit margin points to your product is time.  Operator time lost while loading and unloading the machine.   Increased scraping of product due to slippage. The loss tool rate or shortened tool life requiring operators to change tools prematurely.  These are all examples of time cost/time loss occurrences that translate to dollars lost. The end loss could be in cents or dollars per part but multiplied by the number of parts could very well be a significant amount of money making or breaking the production project.  The reduction or elimination of these occurrences will reduce the loss or add profit margin points to your end result.

I would like to introduce the CNC workholding royalty to augment the DATRON machines:

T-Slot Tables

T-slot CNC workholding segments can be secured on the bed of a DATRON high speed machining center and can be equipped with a multitude of clamping devices.
T-Slot table CNC workholding mounts to the machine bed and can be equipped with wedge clamping or short stoke pneumatic clamps among other solutions.

Work Pallets

Work pallet CNC workholding systems can be custom configured and use a boss in cavity method to make sure you hit the right spot every time.
Our work pallets or QuickPallets are one of our CNC workholding solutions that are are keyed using a beveled boss-in-cavity system to insure location repeatability.

Wedge Clamping Elements

Wedge clamping CNC workholding units add functionality to T-slot tables and allow for adaptable setup.
The wedge clamping CNC workholding units can be configured for single as well as for multiple clampings. Due to their clamping screw and the T-nut, they can be flexibly used on the DATRON T-slot plate.

Compact Centric Clamps

Compact centric clamp CNC workholding is protected from chips and debris through a special slide geometry that helps prevent particle build up and malfunction.
The compact centric clamp is completely protected from dirt, chips and debris. Due to special slide geometry with a guide length of 150 mm, the KZS is the first fully encapsulated centric clamp.

Pneumatic Clamps: Short stroke, positional

Pneumatic short stroke and positional clamps used in conjunction with T-slot tables as CNC workholding on milling machines.
Pneumatic Clamps (short stroke and positional) are smart time-saving elements used when flexibility and short cycle times are required.

Pneumatic Vertical Clamps

Pneumatic clamp system is CNC workholding that integrates onto the bed of a milling machine or machining center to shorten set up time.
Pneumatic clamping systems are an example of CNC workholding solutions offered by DATRON to help reduce setup times.

Vacuum Chuck, Vacuum Table

Vacuum table CNC workholding solutions are integrated on DATRON high speed milling machines and allow for quick setup of sheet material from 0.001" to 0.250" thick.
Vacuum table CNC workholding is designed to swiftly and efficiently secure flat workpieces to the bed of a machining system. Thin stock, which could be secured only with great difficulties before, is now secured literally within seconds. Quickly secure plastic foils as thin as 0.001”, to 0.250” large aluminum sheets.

Precision Rotary Axis

Precision rotary axis CNC workholding adds 4th axis functionality to DATRON high speed CNC milling machines.
Precision rotary axis CNC workholding for 4-axis functionality on a standard DATRON milling machine.

Precision Rotary Axis with Tailstock

This precision rotary axis with a tailstock can be integrated on the CNC milling machine to add 4th axis workholding and machining capability.
Precision rotary axis with tailstock used to add 4th axis capability to DATRON milling machines.

Rotary Swivel Table (Trunnion 5 Axis)

Rotary swivel table CNC workholding or trunnion 5-axis rotary axis used in conjunction with DATRON high speed machining centers.
Rotary swivel table CNC workholding a.k.a. Trunnion 5-axis system mounts in the cut away portion of the machining bed on a DATRON machine.

 

Pick n Place System (Automation)

Pick and place CNC workholding solution is highly customized and automated based on the user's specific part and application.
Pick and Place CNC workholding solutions are custom configured based on both part type and application. Pallets hold blanks and automated arm moves parts to a fixture for milling and returns them to the pallet after milling is completed.

In the coming weeks I will discuss each of these products, description and use.  Each of the above products have the DATRON “Test of Time” for versatility and longevity of use.  When used properly they can achieve perfect holding with production labor time/material loss savings adding profit margin points to your process.

For more information on these Workholding Options, download our Accessories Catalog.

Download Accessories Catalog:

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craig.powers@datron.com'

About the Author

Craig Powers is the Customer Support Manager at DATRON Dynamics and has been with the company for 7 years. Prior to coming to DATRON Craig was a machinist and managed a job shop in New Hampshire. Craig is in charge of all "after sales" support including the implementation of operator training programs, maintenance programs, machine rebuilds, as well as the sales of accessories and tooling.

One thought on “CNC Workholding for Milling Machines

  1. I’ve recently discovered that I have an interest in CNC machines. I really liked this article and included video, and I figure the more advice you get from the experts, the better off you will be. I do agree that there is an art to proper CNC workholding. Thanks for sharing this.

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