The modular vices are typically a vice to clamp work pieces. Just like a universal vice, a modular vice includes two jaws and a base. What’s different between the universal vice and the modular vices is that, all the parts of a modular vice can be replaced. The parts of the modular vices are called modular accessories or modular components. The modular accessories can be frequently replaced by its counter parts with different features or specifications to meet different purposes in a manufacturing process. That is, the modular vice is brought to table because it can meet the frequent set-up changes and the need of rapid response to changing requirements to expand the efficiency.
A modular vice is often utilized in the manufacturing industry as the work-holding device. The modular vices are ideal for small quantities of production and they fit quick-change tooling requirements in machining parts for large assemblies. To be exact, the need for modular fixture comes from the need to machine relatively small batch quantities of 20 to 50 pieces of parts or assemblies. When manufacturing the periodic replacement parts for other machines, the modular vices are introduced to the process. The use of a modular vice improves the production by enabling precise operation and quick transition from part to part.
The main purpose of a modular vice is to reduce the cost during the manufacturing process, so the design of it is usually plain and low-profiled. This feature maximizes the potential of a modular vice possible to be as flexible as possible to fit with other modular components. With limited components or accessories, the vice can work with as many work pieces as possible.
The concept of the modular design is to divide a system into smaller parts. The smaller components of a system can then be modified or replaced. The general idea is to change a system into an interface or a platform which allows components to be freely positioned on it so that the functions of that system can be unlimited in the possible greatest scale. The benefit of a modular design is to reduce the cost, shorten the setup time, allow flexibility in configuration, and enable multi-purpose tasking.
The quick setup includes pull dowels or socket head cap screws. There are holes arrayed on the base of a modular vice. The base is also called a modular plate. The screw holes, or the mounting-hole patterns, differentiate from specifications and the pattern design varies from suppliers. The fixed jaw and the movable jaw can be screwed or doweled to the holes on the base in any position as required. The mounting holes make the configuration of a modular vise flexible as the design allows adjustable spacing between the fixed jaw and the movable jaw.
Usually, the modular plate can fit with multiple clamping systems, whether it is hydraulic or pneumatic. Sometimes it can be manual clamping as well. To withstand the force that the clamping system generates, the preferable materials of the modular components are steel or alloy steel. The other feature that tells a conventional vice apart from a modular vice is that there is usually a groove on a universal vice for the movable jaw to move, but the groove is rarely seen on a modular vice.
Aside from the grooves, there is a great variety of jaws for a modular vice. Typically, the jaw is either made of wood or metal on a universal vice and sometimes there are pads, plastic cushions on the jaws to protect the work pieces. For a modular vice, a wider selection of jaws for multiple purposes can be found. There are serrated jaws, pinch-like jaws, or claw-like jaws designed for very specific work pieces.
To conclude, there are different types of vices out there, whether it is of a conventional style, it is manual, the clamping is powered by air, water, or oil pressure, a modular vice is rather peculiar among all. The accessories and the modular design make it more versatile for different uses. It is its flexibility that stands out to the manufacturing industry.
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