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Get a grip on quality machined parts. (At Large in the Shop).

There's always one place you don't want to lose your grip--on the workpiece when it's being cut.. .or moved into or out of the machining zone. It's popular and necessary today to talk about speeds.. .speed of spindles, feeds, rapid traverse, CNC processing, loading and unloading. These and still other factors are essential process elements that must be considered in producing a quality machined part.

Among those "still other factors," workholding figures so prominently in the machining process that, just like toolholding, it's hard to imagine setting up the process without considering the many ingenious solutions available. The ability to move workpieces into position, locate them, and hold them rigidly during machining is critical to the final machined result.

Regularly shaped parts may or may not offer much of a workholding problem depending on their size, weight, and surface features and surface finish requirements. Irregularly shaped parts, extremely small, slender, or short and stubby parts or very large workpieces are another matter as are workpieces that require special locating surfaces.

They pose a challenge to designers of workholding devices such as chucks, vises, collets, tombstones, clamps, and pallets as well as to shop floor people who have to integrate them into their machining plan.

Sometimes the machining process itself provides its own unique workholding solution. Such is the case with Swiss turning machines as described in this month's article titled "Rx from Swiss machining." The workpiece is fed into the tool and held close to it by the machine's sliding headstock, ensuring rigidity during cutting. This is extremely important, particularly for very small parts, because re-chucking them for secondary operations is simply out of the question.

For automotive manufacturing, Lamb Technicon has developed its Intelligent Fixturing System (IFS) to gain a measure of flexiblity in the high-production world of powertrain machining. As detailed in "Fixturing just got smarter' Lamb, working under a NIST Advanced Technology Program grant and with partners from industry and the academic world, has developed IFS to be configurable to a family of related parts.

Pick a challenge in machining and workholding will occupy the highest priority among those whose job it is ensure that machining processes perform with the quality expected.

Joe McKenna has taken a position as editor of Inside Business magazine, a regional business publication in Northeast Ohio. Joe was a valuable member of the T&P editorial team for a number of years, most recently as editor in chief. We will miss him and wish him continued success.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Workhoding
Comment:Get a grip on quality machined parts. (At Large in the Shop).(Workhoding)
Author:Lorincz, Jim
Publication:Tooling & Production
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:415
Previous Article:Not very confident... no ifs, ands, or buts. (Speaking Out).
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