How Workholding Increases Output

Workholding devices are used to detect, support, and secure workpieces for a different number of manufacturing operations, including machining, welding, and assembly. They hold the part in a fixed position to allow for precise fabricating within a specified tolerance. Quality industrial tools like chucks, collets, vises, jigs, clamps, and fixtures are used for the majority of workholding in a wide range of applications.

Workholding is one of the most important areas of different manufacturing operations. Operators need to understand how to use workholding devices to be efficient, safe and to deliver high-quality products. The correct use of workholding systems increases production speed, tolerance, and finish.

Workholding is made up of two primary components:

  1. The workholding tool, like a vise to hold a piece in place.
  2. Fixture plates, T-slots, axis components, and the like to attach the workholding tool to the machine.

A workholding system increases productivity by generating more production uptime and reducing set-up changeover times. It allows the operator to make changes to the job quickly. Replacing workpieces over and over increases the quality of the finished product. Without a workholding device, a lot of time is wasted on mounting a single piece on the machine. There’s a saying that “You can’t machine it right if you can’t hold it right.”

How does workholding increase output?

  1. Increased repeatability
  2. Improved spindle uptime
  3. Change setups from hours to minutes
  4. Increased number of parts per shift
  5. Improved accuracy and quality

Different precision manufacturing operations use higher cutting speeds that place greater force on the workholding equipment, so it needs to withstand the energy of the machine. Clamping the workpiece in a fixed position is required, and the workholding tool cannot deform it in the process.

The amount of time and effort spent on changeovers lowers operator productivity. Manual changing of new parts can take up to 30 minutes and demands a skilled operator who can ensure that workholding accuracy and repeatability are met. This is a tiring and painstaking process since this has to be done several times a day.

Moving to an automated workholding system can reduce set-up times by 90%. This significantly improves productivity and makes the best use of machine time. This also avoids operator errors, therefore, improving the quality of the finished product.

Investing in a workholding system is relatively inexpensive, considering the flexibility and savings it brings. It reduces costs for materials, labor, and maintenance. The return on investment can be measured by the following:

  1. Increased productivity and output
  2. Extended tool life
  3. Minimized setups and changeover times
  4. Verified improvements in machine uptimes

Suncoast Precision Tools is an official seller of Mitee-Bite Products. Mitee-Bite Products is the trendsetter of solid, low-profile edge clamps geared to refining production and providing solutions for difficult workholding applications. Our experts are here to help you in designing and developing new processes that will reduce idle time, improve your productivity and output, and become more competitive in the international market. You can see all Mitee-Bite products here.

Dr. David K Simson
The author, Dr. David K Simson is a trained radiation oncologist specializing in advanced radiation techniques such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) / Rapid Arc, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). He is also experienced in interstitial, intracavitary, and intraluminal brachytherapy.