Set-up times reduced

US-manufactured Chick System 5 work-holding equipment, supplied in the UK through sole agent 1st Machine Tool Accessories, is helping to increase productivity and efficiency in the machine shop of Axminster Tools & Machinery, located in Devon. The company is an online and high street retailer of tools and machinery that it imports from global suppliers. However, Axminster chooses to manufacture some machine accessories, including the Clubman SK80 woodturning chuck, in-house to ensure quality.

Historically, standard wind-up vices were used to fixture components for machining on CNC mills and machining centres, but as production levels rose they became too inefficient. Then, a new job came along that required particularly accurate clamping of multiple small parts, namely steel jaws for chucks.
To provide a solution, 1st MTA proposed its Chick Qwik-Lok system, which significantly reduces set-up times as the jaws secure components quickly and to high repeatability for milling and drilling. One large part can be clamped between two jaws, but to allow more parts to be loaded at a time, a pair of components, or multiples, are held in two stations. Aluminium jaws machined with the profile of the parts to be held ensure they are retained firmly during machining.
Once Axminster Tools & Machinery adopted this procedure, clamping several steel mounting jaws in each Qwik-Lok station, productivity was increased. The machine operator is able to change over up to six Qwik-Loks on a VMC table in half an hour, four times faster than when previously using the bespoke steel fixture plate. Moreover, the latter had the drawback of potentially causing damage to the cutter in the event of a programming error, whereas this is not the case with aluminium jaws.
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