A Game Changer
Prior to the design of this system, the only fixturing option that manufacturers of large parts had was to use smaller tooling or to custom-build something. “Some manufacturers just put the part on the table and shim it to align it to the machine as best they can,” adds Gordon, who describes the old process like this:
“Working without fixturing like this is time consuming. It could take a whole day just to get it set up. Generally, you know how to get it close. You bolt it in, check it on the machine to see where you’re at and then tighten it all back down, check it with the machine and repeat. It’s this back-and-forth process of tramming and adjusting until you finally get it all dialed in, and then that ONE operation is ready to cut. If you have two or three operations, that’s a lot of fine tuning when you should be making chips.”
The new extra-large modular fixturing system eliminates this entire scenario. “One of the biggest benefits of our fixturing is set up time. If the fixturing is good, you know you can put a huge part in there and it’s going be where it should be every time,” explains Gordon.
For machine shops relying on tribal knowledge to get a part made right, standardizing the process is a huge bonus. “Without standardized fixturing, you need experience loading a very large part onto a machine every day to really master it,” says Gordon. “Those are the guys that can tell you ‘ok, I need to put .050” shim on this side and .060” on this side to compensate for this table, and then I’ll adjust from there.’ And they know the clamping sequence and which way it will pull the part. So there’s this tribal knowledge you’re relying on, versus fixturing where you can just put something up there and know it’s good.”
The 8024 system will provide the comfort of knowing that anyone you put on the machine can produce the same result. “Our fixturing is comparable to a well-written program. If you have a reliable program, and you run it as it’s intended, the part will come out right. It’s the same thing with fixturing: set it up as intended, and the part will come out right. There’s a great deal of comfort to be gained from that,” adds Ellig.