A hydraulic clamp cylinder can be recognized as a work holding device, which assists for holding the workpiece in place on the table, either horizontally or vertically, in order to facilitate the compatible machine to perform a variety of works.
The hydraulic clamp cylinders that can be seen on a milling machine or a press machine, for example, are usually arranged in pairs, either two or four pieces as a set, but in some cases, there is likely to be only a single clamp on the table.
Since these clamp cylinders support the workpieces by points on the table, they don’t have to be as long or wide as the table. Instead, they often come in compact sizes but remain the sturdy feature that allows them to offer strong and firm clamping force for the workpieces that are supposed to be machined.
As the name suggests, the clamp cylinder is presented as a cylindrical shape of device, with a rod that supports the other components, receives the power source that drives the clamping force, and transfers the force to the workpieces when the machine is in operation.
The power source of a hydraulic clamp cylinder comes from the hydraulic fluids, usually the hydraulic oil, which is compressed and pushed to the cylinder with the hoses that connect the cylinder and the fluid tank, and thus make the firm clamping force for the workpieces.
A hydraulic clamp cylinder consists of a tightening bolt, two wedges, a stopper/ phasing pin, a lever, a rod, and a cylinder from the top to the bottom.
● Tightening bolt
The tightening bolt is used to assemble the two wedges, the stopper/phasing pin, and the lever, and tighten the assembly onto the rod. Only when the components of the assembly is combined and tightened together with the tightening bolt, then the clamp cylinder is able to work.
The two wedges are parts of the upper assembly, which are positioned in order to make a seal with other parts for the clamp cylinder.
● Stopper/phasing pin
The stopper pin or the phasing pin is set on the top of the lever, and it provides a space for the wedges and lever to be perfectly fitted together with the help of the tightening bolt.
The lever is a movable component on the hydraulic clamp cylinder. It is not only in charge of conducting the adjustment, but also plays the role in clamping directly on the workpieces.
When the assembly of the wedges, the stopper/phasing pin, and the lever is fixed together, the lever can be swung in order to clamp or unclamp on the workpieces by the descending and elevating movements, and this makes the device also called a hydraulic swing clamp.
The rod penetrates through the upper lever assembly and the cylinders at the bottom. It is used to provide support mainly for the lever when it clamps on the workpieces. In addition, it also offers a channel for the lever to slide on it with upward and downward movements during the adjustments for the clamping and unclamping processes.
The cylinder is the lower part of the device, which is equipped with the confirmation valves and air ports that confirm the clamping and unclamping actions, the fixture plate that holds the components in the cylinder, and the port that allows the hydraulic fluid to flow into the cylinder.
The first and foremost step to use the hydraulic clamp cylinder is to assemble and install the lever and the assembly on the rod of the cylinder, which would require the assistance of the tightening bolt. Make sure the components are securely fixed on the cylinder then the clamping work can be conducted.
● Piping cleaning
The piping here refers to the hoses that connect the cylinder and the hydraulic fluid tank. In addition to make sure the piping attaches the cylinder and the tank tightly, the cleaning of the piping is important as well. Only when the piping is well-cleaned then the transferring of the clamping force would not be blocked.
Once the setups before the clamp cylinder is in use are done, the workpiece can be placed on the table. Depending on the height of the workpiece when it is on the table, the lever would have to be adjusted by swinging it and allowing it to elevate or descend.
When the setups and the adjustment are ensure to be appropriately managed, the hydraulic clamp cylinder can provide the clamping force, which is driven as the hydraulic fluid is kept pumping into the cylinder, for the workpiece and enable the workpiece to be machined on the table.
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