Faster changeover, longer tool life featured at IMTS tooling & workholding pavilion

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Schunk’s smart toolholder provides real-time data "closest to the part" and helps to quickly introduce optimal machining processes. The German Design Council honored this innovation with the German Innovation Award 2022.

Workholding and tooling companies are set to to introduce state-of-the-art solutions at IMTS 2022 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which runs Sept. 12-17 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The Tooling & Workholding Systems Pavilion will feature more than 400 exhibitors in fixtures, dies, clamps, cutters, drills, chucks, plates, and more.   

Exhibitors such as BIG DAISHOWA, Blue Photon, Gorilla Mill, HAIMER USA, and SCHUNK will highlight the latest tooling and workholding solutions that improve productivity and cost efficiency while minimizing setup and machining time.  

“A major key to shop productivity is the utilization of new technology in the areas of tooling and workholding. No shop functions without it,” says Peter R. Eelman, chief experience officer at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS. “It can give new capability to older equipment and optimize performance for new machines. If higher productivity and lower cost are important for your company, you must visit the Tooling & Workholding Systems Pavilion.”   

Hold Tight  

Blue Photon Technology & Workholding Systems (IMTS booth 431392) will feature ultraviolet (UV) workholding technology for tight tolerance machining and inspection of delicate and hard-to-hold parts for milling, turning, grinding, and EDM on hard metals, aluminum, and ceramics. Patented UV-lighted grippers paired with BlueGrip adhesive create a strong bond to irregular surfaces, freeing the workpiece from clamps and the need to design workholding features for clamping. 

Blue Photon currently assists customers in the aerospace, medical, job shop, and ceramic industries by allowing them to do things not possible with traditional workholding. The company has expanded its product line with new grip pallets for 52 mm and 96 mm quick-change receivers to allow for holding more applications using existing quick-change fixturing systems in machining centers.   

“Our workholding solutions help those jobs where you want to do everything in one step. This saves time because it is physically adhered once, where before, the part might have needed to be clamped multiple times to finish machining,” says Shannon Osborn, marketing manager at Blue Photon.  

Stay Connected 

HAIMER USA (IMTS booth 431510) will introduce the new i4.0 machine series of shrink fit machines with Industry 4.0 connectivity. The i4.0 machines series is adjustable for all types of tool holders and suitable for solid carbide and high-speed steel tools. The wireless communication exchange helps optimize and customize shrinking parameters for machining processes in an error-free-data setting, as well as track tooling.    

“Through Wi-Fi communication, i4.0 shrinking, presetting, and balancing, machines from HAIMER can interface with the job shop’s CAD/CAM system or tool management system to track the flow of those tool assemblies from the design stage, through the assembly stage of the tool assembly in the tool crib, and then out to the machine tool,” says Robert Bied, vice president of product management North America at HAIMER USA.  

With a 7-inch touch display and new intuitive software, the i4.0 shrink fit machines provide a simple, user-friendly interface that allows for outstanding results with less experienced operators. HAIMER shrink fit technology provides time savings per shrink operation, reducing the tool-changing time to less than five seconds due to the precisely metered low-energy-consumption and contact-cooling systems.   

Easy Changeover 

SCHUNK (IMTS booth 432010) introduces the Flex Series of flexible, lightweight chucks for 5-axis machining, mill-turns, and vertical turn lathes. The Flex Series has a lightweight design that leaves room for heavy workpieces without moving the machine at the load limit. With an integrated jaw adjustment and quick-change functionality, a Flex Series chuck can adapt quickly and accurately for new tasks.  

“The right tooling allows shops to produce more parts at better quality in a more efficient way without constant operator attendance,” says Michael Gaunce, vice president of sales – tooling & workholding at SCHUNK. “We make components and devices that have flexibility and ease of use so job shops can quickly change over between parts.”  

The SCHUNK booth will include live robot demonstrations of new automated machine-tending bundles for different applications, including an automatic pallet-changing system for smaller batches and an automated part loading/unloading system for larger batches.   

Longer Tool Life 

Gorilla Mill (IMTS booth 432446) introduces their WTF end mill coating, which offers superior oxidation resistance, high thermal stability, and exceptional wear resistance for difficult-to-machine materials such as titanium, nickel-based alloys, and stainless and hardened steels.  

“If a shop is running an end mill at 2,200 degrees, it’s going to glow red, so everyone should probably leave the building,” says Kevin Cranker, president at Gorilla Mill. “The WTF coating holds up against temperature and abrasion, so users can see a 20% to 50% increase in tool life, even when working with titanium and Inconels.”  

Hands-off Boring 

BIG DAISHOWA, formerly BIG KAISER, (IMTS booth 431610) will introduce the EWA Automatic Fine Boring System, which performs closed-loop boring operations without a human operator. This breakthrough eliminates the need to stop the spindle to manually adjust the boring tool, which results in time savings, lower costs, improved accuracy, and minimized scrap. The adjustment range of the boring head allows for the handling of multiple bore sizes with the same tool and ensures a repeatable boring process.   

“I go into customer shops and see machines sitting idle because they don’t have enough operators to run them,” says Michael Herman, vice president of sales for BIG DAISHOWA. “The new EWA automatic fine boring system helps companies run more effectually with fewer interruptions, allowing multiple diameters to be processed with one boring head without operator intervention. They can even run lights-out with proper automation.”  

Explore more than 400 companies at the Tooling & Workholding Systems Pavilion, located in the West Building of McCormick Place. Registration for IMTS for individual visitors is $70 and includes access to all six days of IMT.    

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