Modular Clamping Systems

What is a Modular Clamping System?

The modular clamping system is designed to clamp and fix the workpieces by using a variety of modular fixtures on the rail. The rail plays an important role as the basis to support a large variety of modules to clamp the gears. There are more than 180 types of modules that are developed to utilize modular clamping systems, including blank modules, vacuum modules, magnet modules, centric clamps, toggle clamps, clamps, jaw chucks, and so on.

The workpieces can range from sophisticated, small gears to pieces that are extremely large and weigh up to tons for heavy roughing operations. However, the base rail should be specially designed and manufactured. On the other hand, for bulky workpieces, thin-walled, U-shaped pieces, or plates, vacuum clamping is ideal for gentle clamping. When it comes to vacuum clamping, the surrounding air applies pressure toward the pieces when clamping. The entire surfaces of the pieces are fixed, eliminating the vibration in the process. The simple operation and freer operating space are the benefits.

Clamping and Clamping Principle

Clamping refers to the process of fastening and securing the workpiece tightly through utilizing inward pressure, avoiding separation or slight movement during metalworking. There are many types of clamps available for different use or materials. Some clamps are temporary while some clamps such as modular clamps can be permanent and can be reused. In general clamping principle, when three pins are used at the bottom of clamps, they restrict the rotational motion in four directions on the X and Y axis and also the translation motion on Z-axis. As for using two pins, they will restrict rotational motion and one translation motion. Last but not least, when using one pin, it restricts only one translation motion.

Why Use a Modular Clamping System?

Available in a wide range of sizes, modular clamping systems are versatile, efficient, and convenient for different applications. They allow height adjustment by coupling the modular fixture. Many advanced modular systems nowadays eliminate the tool interference when machining the metal pieces, which provide 5-axis machining capability with a simple clamping mechanism. With high precision on positioning and clamping the products, the modular clamping system is ideal for machine tools that require the gears to be clamped and unclamped repeatedly. The modular fixture can be rapidly changed with an accuracy of 0.0005 centimeters.

In advanced 5-axis modular clamping systems today, the jack bars or other designed components assist to optimize the accessibility from all sides during machining. The arrangement and abilities of quick change of modules cut the set-up costs and minimize the deviation caused by frequent re-clamping.

Elements in Modular Clamping System

The modular clamping system consists of a variety of substantial clamping and positioning elements. Common bases include plates, bars, angle brackets, where the clamping modules are mounted on. Among them, base plates are most commonly used. Slide, rockers, and jacks are used for a slight adjustment. Contact elements like ballpoints, v-pieces, mechanical and hydraulic blocks allow unhindered clamping in a modular clamping system.

Following is a brief introduction of some common examples of the elements used in clamping and mounting the modules in modular clamping systems. Flanged clamp modules, double clamp modules, and single clamp modules can be used to position and clamp the gears in conjunction with clamping screws; Clamping screws can be used to install both single and double modules to the base precisely with the locating pins. Double clamping pins are designed for coupling clamping modules. Locating bushings or tapered bushings are used to mount flanged clamping modules onto the base plate.

Application of Modular Clamping system

Modular clamping systems are versatile and efficient for positioning and fixing the work for a wide range of applications in dimensional measuring technology, automotive industry, aerospace industry, medical, sports equipment manufacturing, and other assembly systems in industrial manufacturing. Variety of intelligent modular elements and the high precision of modular clamping systems are available for different materials that vary in sizes and stabilities. When supporting sophisticated or small workpieces, modular clamping systems can apply with adjusting and measuring elements like the moving slides, the dial gauges, and the retractable plugs to achieve excellent accuracy over conventional clamping methods.

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