Vise for Automation Recommendation
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  1. #1
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    Default Vise for Automation Recommendation

    I've been looking at hydraulic and pneumatic vises for a while and I am wondering if there are any recommendations. This is for a small job shop setting.

    So far, I've looked at Kurt Vise. The pneumatic ones look too bulk. The dual station hydraulic vise looks to be better value than the single station, but I don't know if the unclamped jaw preload will be a problem for cobot/robot to push open.

    The Jergen dual station hydraulic vise looks like it's double acting. However Jergen's base is aluminum, and I prefer to have swappable soft jaws(kurt style) vs jaw blocks(chick style).

    Schunks are simply out of our price range.

    I also found Repid Design's CNC Vise Actuator(pneumatic) that clamps onto a regular kurt vise and turns the screw 1/2 turn to clamp or unclamp. CNC Vise Actuator - Rapid Design Solutions

    Also saw Air Vise's pneumatic work-holding at Haas's demo day. Airvise

    Heinrich air vise from what I read on the forum seems more suited for manual milling/drilling operations.


    Are air powered hydraulic pumps better than straight pneumatic? We machine mostly aluminum, except for facing, seldom use anything larger than 3/8" endmill for roughing. Occasionally we'll machine small stainless parts as well.

    Any recommendation for automated vise clamping/unclamping for a small job shop. This is our first step toward potentially setting up robot tending in the future.

    thanks for any input,
    John

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    Rethink Schunk. In automation you need reliability. The pneumatic KSP would be my first choice. I have a customer with over a million clampings.

  3. #3
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    First, I work for Rapid Design. We had similar questions when first looking at robot automation. For us it came down to the types of jobs we needed to run through our automated mill (lot of low quantity, with a few production runs mixed in). Because of this I wanted to be able to quickly setup the robot in front of the mill for production, then remove it and switch back to normal operation easily. The pneumatic vise actuators we build allow us to do this with minimal setup/tear down time (no need to tram different vises etc.) It's also helpful to be able to finely regulate the torque with air pressure for thin parts. A drawback is they aren't ideal for operating dual station double-locks because they produce 225 degrees rotation so you don't really want to setup for more than a half turn.

    I think if you were going to be dedicating the machine to full time automation and higher production (especially on steel) the hydraulic double vises could make sense. They produce a lot of clamping force, and have decent jaw travel. I believe their single acting hydraulic vises all have an internal return spring so the robot wouldn't have an issue unloading. I don't have experience with the air/hydraulic pumps but saw they adjust with air input pressure which would be nice if you have multiple vises/pumps, each needing different pressure.

    For robot loading I like to use the robot to push the part toward a stop while clamping just like your operator would. For double locks you might use a double robot end effector to do this or soft jaws that locate both ways.

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    I cannot speak to the other options you are considering but I have one Kurt HDHM6C (cast iron jaws) on each side of Brother pallet machine. I run each vice with an air-over-oil cylinder and confirm clamping with pressure sensors. It's easy to remove the springy pre-load feature in the vice if you want. I really like the quick-change jaws! The moveable jaws pop out with just your hands and the fixed jaw you loosen two screws and then pull off the jaw. I can literally swap out all three jaws in two minutes...one minute if I hustle. Depending on your parts you can get two setups on each jaw set (one on each end of the top side of the movable jaws and one on the top and bottom of the fixed jaw.) Excellent repeatability between jaw change overs (for my parts, at least.) I leave the vice mounted on the table and never have to adjust work shifts after changing jaws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    The Jergen dual station hydraulic vise looks like it's double acting. However Jergen's base is aluminum, and I prefer to have swappable soft jaws(kurt style) vs jaw blocks(chick style).
    No Go. Jergens have been tested and found wanting. You already pointed out why (aluminum base).

    Schunks are simply out of our price range.
    You can run the shit out of a Schunk. The things will survive nuclear winter. They just go and go and go. They take an incredible amount of abusive cycles and don't skip a beat.

    Is the upfront price high? Absolutely! You'll make up for it in the first 6 months because process reliability is incredibly important in this ballgame.

    I also found Repid Design's CNC Vise Actuator(pneumatic) that clamps onto a regular kurt vise and turns the screw 1/2 turn to clamp or unclamp. CNC Vise Actuator - Rapid Design Solutions
    Yea, this setup looks quite intriguing. It was going viral on the Insta a couple of days ago. They need to work with Orange and when they do, I'll buy one. The Orange is absurdly repeatable, and this looks like it is simply automating a known-good piece of hardware, so the probability that it will futz with that intrinsic accuracy is very low. It is a "Fuck, I wish I had thought about that and executed on it" ideas.

    In a world where UR (and others) are getting the cost of automation down, there needs to be an option that is not $4000 (i.e. Schunk), and this looks extremely promising.

    Also saw Air Vise's pneumatic work-holding at Haas's demo day. Airvise
    That world I just talked about, where $4000 vises are a bit much and we need a less expensive option? The Air Vise probably isn't it. Never seen one, but the folks I know who have run them have had big repeatability issues. It is a rev or two away from being very good. I hope they can solve that.


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