Hydraulic Vices

What Is a Hydraulic Vice?

A hydraulic vice, also known as the hydraulic vise, utilizes hydraulic power to provide power and efficiency when doing bench work. Generally speaking, the user operates the hydraulic vice by using a hydraulic foot pump. It is the kind of vice that eliminates physical limitation and risks especially for those who are handicapped.

A bench vise is commonly used for bench work in workshop or garage. It is usually attached on a workbench and is used to hold a work piece in place securely, allowing you to have both hands available to work on the work piece with other tools. A bench vise is suitable for bench work such as sawing, drilling, screwing, soldering and so on.

Difference between Hydraulic Vice and Conventional Vice

A conventional vice is operated manually. Normally, there is a lever on the vice allowing users to manually crank it down with one hand and hold the work piece in another hand while operating. Due its design nature and mechanism, a conventional vice user is more prone to risks and injuries during operations. It also does not provide reliable power and stability. Setting up a conventional vice is relatively difficult as opposed to its other counterparts.

On the other hand, hydraulic vises are more durable, precise and powerful. They utilize hydraulic foot pump as the main power source, allowing the users to have both hands to manage the work piece. Hydraulic vises are also known for their immense clamping force; it can provide clamping force up to 5 tons (equivalent to 10,000 lbs.). Moreover, they can be placed in either horizontal or vertical positions, making it easy for you to work on any heavy, repetitive, oversized, or multi-piece projects.

Hydraulics Mechanism

Hydraulics is essentially a mechanical function that powers an operation through the force of hydraulic pressure. A hydraulic-based machine or system perform mechanic movement typically by pumping liquid through cylinders moving pistons. Hydraulics combines mechanical and electronics for product designing and manufacturing process.

Simple hydraulics system uses gravity to create water pressure in order to deliver water through irrigation system. The system uses water’s owner properties to deliver itself. Machines like hydraulic vises use a more complex hydraulic system which utilizes a pump to pressure liquids to create power for mechanical movement.

Operating a Hydraulic Vice

Below show some simple steps for operating a hydraulic vice:

1. Inspect the Hydraulic Vice: Thoroughly examine all components of the hydraulic vice for damage especially on the hoses before use. Always make sure that the hydraulic vice is periodically cleaned and lubricated.
2. Connect Air Supply: Connect the hydraulic hose to the air supply as instructed.
3. Operate the Pump: Use the foot pump to close the jaw on the hydraulic vice for holding work piece. Retract to loosen up the jaws.
4. Position the Work Piece: Place your work piece between the jaws and hold it in place. Open up the airflow by turning on the air control valve. Step on the foot pump to allow the jaws to firmly grip around the work piece.
5. Operate the Work Piece: Always make sure the work in is firmly held between the jaws before working on the work piece. 

Safety Precaution for Hydraulic Vices

Machines using hydraulic power can be very safe if used correctly. Some safety precautions with regard to using a hydraulic vice are shown below:

● Refrain from touching or handling hydraulic hoses with pressure in the system
● Do not start operation without safety goggles on. Despite the safety in design, anyone who works by a bench should wear goggles to minimize risks.
● Refrain from wearing loose clothes or unnecessary accessories like watches and bracelets while doing bench work.
● Refrain from breaking or making any hydraulic connections using pressure in the system.
● Do not start an operation if you noticed damage on the hoses or any other parts of the hydraulic vice. 

Applications of Hydraulic Vises

Hydraulic vises are generally used for heavier bench work in workshop, garage and maintenance department due to their substantial clamping force. It in fact has a wide range of applications as listed below:

● Woodworking
● Form steel
● U-joint removal
● Sawing
● Steel cutting
● Drilling and boring
● Cutting conduit
● Fabrication
● Assembly
● Planing
● Auto maintenance
● etc.

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