Pneumatic Vices

What is a pneumatic vice?

A vice is a device used to secure an object by clamping it firmly in order for the object to be processed. The object can be heavy metal, woodcrafts, plastic or other kinds of working pieces. The conventional design of a vise is comprised of two jaws on a platform with a swivel base. There is one fixed jaw on one end of a vise and a movable jaw on the other end. The movable jaw can be tightened to, or to clamp against the fixed jaw by a screw or a lever. This manual style of vice is called the manual vice or a universal vice.

A pneumatic vice, on the other hand, is an air-operated vise instead of tightening the jaw manually. The clamping process for the movable jaw to the fixed jaw is shortened with the pneumatic operation. On the contrary to the manual vices, the idea of securing a working piece with pneumatic vices is that the process is not only shortened but also automated.

Features of a pneumatic vice

The other feature that differentiates a pneumatic vice from a universal vise is that, the air-operated device on a pneumatic vice exerts much greater power to the clamping mechanism. This makes pneumatic vices distinctively suitable for industrial use. With greater force, it allows the pneumatic vice to secure objects with greater mass or volume. In addition, the force that the pneumatic system generates can be controlled by electronic units or industrial robots.

To take a deeper look into pneumatic vices, it is necessary to learn more about pneumatics. Pneumatics is one of the fields in engineering which utilizes compressed gas or air. Pneumatic systems are widely applied in industry. They are powered compressed gases to exert force to certain mechanisms. The pneumatic device that is installed on a pneumatic vice is usually an electrically powered air motor. The pneumatic vice is only one of the many applications of pneumatics.

Advantages of the pneumatic vice

A couple reasons that a pneumatic system is recommended are the sustainability and it does no harm to the environment. The sustainable atmospheric air sets almost no limit to the application of a pneumatic system for air is literally all around the places. The users of the system do not need to worry about the leakage of the air. It is just air and it is not poisonous.

The body and the jaws of a pneumatic vice are usually made of cast iron or hardened steel. With greater clamping force, a pneumatic vise requires stronger material to withstand the force. The stroke of pneumatic vices diversifies significantly to meet different applications. The stroke is the distance between the two jaws. Normally the longer the stroke is, the bigger the working piece is allowed to be worked with a vice.

The pneumatic vices can be operated by users or can be automated and controlled by electric units or robots. A pneumatic vice can be operated as simple as just push a button and the jaws will clamp to the tightest with the maximum force. Or it can be more complicated and sophisticated. A digitally controlled pneumatic vice reads inputs such as how much clamping force is going to be exerted or how long is the stroke to clamp the working piece. It’s reliable, accurate and versatile for multiple purposes.

What do we actually need? A pneumatic vice or a universal vice

However, the safety issue of this kind of automated device should not be neglected as well. Unlike the manually screwed vices that are controlled solely by the user, it needs only a couple buttons for an automated pneumatic vice to operate and it clamps the user’s hands easily if it is overlooked. As a result, for smaller working pieces, take woodcrafts or handicrafts for example, it is recommended to use the manually operated universal vices because the workers are more likely to put their hands close to the vices. For the industrial use, because there are instruments or industrial equipment that are usually automated and the worker tend to work with the consoles not the devices, it is better and necessary to introduce the pneumatic vices to such working environment.

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