Chick work holding offers productivity and accuracy

Shipley-based TecnAir designs and manufactures an extensive variety of pneumatic cylinders, valve assemblies, linear drives, handling equipment, controls and other products.

What characterises this manufacturing activity above all else is the large amount of machining involved to produce the high-accuracy components. To this end, since the early 2000s the manufacturer has entrusted component clamping on its machining centres to Chick work-holding products, supplied through sole UK agent 1st Machine Tool Accessories.

Steve Watson, CNC operations manager at TecnAir, says: “Fixturing is crucial, as we cannot tolerate any movement or vibration. Chick products underpin the required level of accuracy in our factory. Not only do we get rigid work holding, which incidentally also prolongs tool life, but a high level of interchangeability of the various Chick clamping units also helps to minimise investment in the equipment.”

Supporting prismatic machining operations on the shop floor are 15 Chick QwikLOK units, which find employment on five vertical machining centres: three from Haas and two from Mazak. Six of the units are dedicated to pendulum machining of relatively short pneumatic cylinder bodies from aluminium extrusion in three operations – rear end cap machining, front end cap machining, and inlet and outlet port machining – on a Mazak VTC-530. The resulting high-density work holding has the effect of maximising the use of the available machining area and reducing the overall number of tool changes required.

In addition, there are 11 MultiLOK towers deployed across three twin-pallet, four-axis, horizontal machining centres: a stand-alone Doosan HC400 and two Mazak HCN-4000s linked by a Palletech automated storage and retrieval system for 16 machine pallets. Materials processed are mainly aluminium and stainless steel, plus some brass, with castings accounting for 30% of throughput. The company produces the remainder from either billet or extrusion.

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