Power Chucks

What are power chucks?

Power chucks are one type of chucks that are used for clamping workpieces to do further machining works like milling or drilling automatically. Power chucks are operated by the pneumatic or hydraulic pressure instead of manual force in order to position the workpieces on the right place within seconds. After the machining works, power chucks can also loosen the workpieces by the releasing of air or hydraulic pressure. The primary function of a power chuck is similar to a vice, which is giving pressure to the workpiece so as to fasten it and achieve the maximum stability. Power chucks can be categorized by the number of the jaws.

There are two to four jaws in the design of typical power chucks. The more jaws a power chuck have, the more stability the power chuck is able to provide for the clamping of a workpiece. For example, now you are holding a solid object on your palm. In order to prevent the object to fall off your hand, you should provide the optimal stability for the object. Therefore, you will need your fingers to give more supports to the object. Basically, two fingers can give enough support, while if you use the other three fingers, the risk that the object falls off your hand can be decreased to the lowest point. As the similar theory, if there are more jaws on a power chuck, it can provide more catch points to support a workpiece. There can be a variety of shapes in the workpieces that a power chuck is able to clamp, including cubic, round, asymmetric and thin-walled workpieces.

Power chucks vs. vices

As the above introduction has mentioned, the basic function of a power chuck and a vice is alike, which is both used for clamping workpieces to do other machining works. While what’s the differences between power chucks and vices? We can differentiate them from the two features.

● source of pressure
The pressure of a power chuck that the workpiece receives is coming from air, water, or other liquid. With the compressing and releasing of the air or hydraulic pressure, the workpiece can be fastened or loosened. While the clamping force of a vice is coming from manual rotating the handle of the vice. It not only needs the operator to align the workpiece on the right place, but also requires the operator to adjust the pressure of clamping before or during the process of machining works.

● numbers of jaws
When it comes to the catch points, the number of jaws matter. Modern design of power chucks usually has four jaws, which provide the maximum catch points to the workpieces. However, the vices that are commonly used in the machining works only have two jaws. If there is a round or irregular workpiece, a vice cannot offer better stability than a power chuck with four jaws.

Power chucks vs. manual chucks

Manual chucks are one type of chucks that the operator can change or adjust different sizes or numbers of jaws manually depending on their need. To adjust the jaws on a chuck, you need to use some tools to rotate the screws on the chuck to loosen the original jaws, and then set the desired one onto the chuck by fastening the screws. From here we can see the main differences between power chucks and manual chucks.

● universality
Since the operator can change the jaws on the manual chuck depending on the need of the machining works, which means a manual chuck allows a variety of workpieces to be operated, manual chucks are widely available in the industry. As for the power chucks, although there are different models of them with two to four jaws, the jaws on a power chuck is not adjustable, which means that each of power chucks is only suitable for specific workpieces.

● efficiency
In a large-scale factory, one kind of machine is used only for one kind of workpiece, and this kind of workpiece would be produced with high-volume. Thus, what the large-scale factory pursue is the efficiency. Because manual chucks need the operators to adjust the jaws manually, it takes more time in the process of machining works. However, with power chucks, they allow the factory to produce standardized products in a great amount. Thus, the efficiency of power chucks would be much better than manual chucks.

Types of power chucks

Among the power chucks that are used in the industry, they simply vary in the inner part of the jaws. There are two types of power chucks, thru-hole power chucks and non-thru-hole power chucks. Like what the name says, a thru-hole power chuck has a hole penetrates through the body of the power chuck, which allows workpieces with variation in diameters to be placed in. As for a non-thru-hole power chuck, the workpieces can only be put onto the surface of the power chuck instead of penetrating through it, while it still provides good stability with the support of the jaws.

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