Not long ago, the mention of workholding might call to mind the traditional vise or three-jaw chuck. The integral nature of proper fixturing to successful machining has forever changed that paradigm and made workholding as critical to the manufacturing process as any of the machines or systems of which it is a part.
Unlike its name, the use of shrink-fit tooling is expanding. A shrink-fit toolholder starts with a slightly undersize bore that is heated to enlarge the inner diameter enough to accept a cutting tool and then grip the cutter as it cools and contracts.
Many job shops hold onto traditional, inexpensive tooling systems. ER collets and Weldon flats are tried and true; they work and are proven. At the same time, newer, advanced machining technology, such as multi-axis machines, may perform better when newer, advanced (and more expensive) toolholders are deployed.
The history of cutting tools goes back a ways—a long, long way. Our prehistoric ancestors were pretty good at making stone tools, and the technology has improved from there. I saw how much on a February visit to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which has an exhibit on the history of machining.
Alan Rooks - Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering
While the initial investment for a modular quick-change tooling system is higher than that of traditional toolholders, significantly improving the connection between spindles and tooling is well worth it.
Scott Leitch - Sales/Marketing Manager, EXSYS Tool Inc.