Choosing the Right Hydraulic Clamps to Reduce Cycle Times

Manufacturing production in the US increased 23% in April 2021 compared to the previous year. As production starts to rebound from pandemic-related declines, efficiency and productivity are more critical than ever.

One way to reduce cycle times is by using the proper hydraulic clamps. Hydraulic clamping gives you work holding that is faster, more precise, and more consistent.

Find out more about how the proper hydraulic clamps can reduce your cycle times. 

How Do Hydraulic Clamps Reduce Cycle Times?

Hydraulic clamps can reduce cycle times in several ways. The cycle includes setup, machining, and changeover.

Manually changing out fixtures is time-consuming. For example, tightening numerous bolts to the proper torque can take 30 minutes for each cycle.

With hydraulic clamps, the operator can put the part in the fixture and push a button or flip a switch. This is faster, more accurate, and more consistent.

Power clamps give you the precise amount of working hold necessary. They give you more pressure than manual clamps, and they apply the pressure evenly and consistently.

When clamps aren’t rigid enough, your cutting tools may wear prematurely. In addition, dull tools make the cycle times longer. Hydraulic clamps protect you from additional costs and longer cycle times. 

Types of Hydraulic Clamps

All hydraulic clamping cylinders have some standard features — they clamp quickly and repeatedly, and you can activate and deactivate them quickly.

You have three basic hydraulic hold-down clamps to choose from single-acting, double-acting, and swing cylinders.

Single-Acting Cylinders

Single-acting cylinders give hydraulic power in only one direction. The hydraulic fluid acts on one side of the piston rod. Another force, like a spring, operates it in the other direction.

Single-acting cylinders need less valving and plumbing than double-acting cylinders. They have a simpler hydraulic circuit and use less oil.

The use of hydraulic power in only one direction makes the operating speed slower, though. It also means that all of the cylinders may not retract at the same time.

Double-Acting Cylinders

Double-acting cylinders use hydraulic power to move the piston rod in both directions. This gives you a faster-operating speed. You also get better control of the clamp release.

Swing Cylinders

Swing cylinders are the most popular form of hydraulic clamping.

The piston and the attached arm rotate 90º during the swing stroke. Then they travel downward and clamp the part during the clamping stroke.

When you release the clamping pressure, the clamp arm raises and rotates back 90º in the opposite direction. This lets you unload the workpiece and load the next one.

How to Choose the Right Hydraulic Clamps

Clamping systems have many components. Choosing the suitable hydraulic clamps means considering the materials you’re working with, the fabrication or machining process, and the shop environment.

Workpiece Materials

The size, shape, and material characteristics of the parts you need to hold, all determine which type of clamp you should use. In addition, you want to hold the workpiece securely but without distorting or damaging it. This makes the clamping force a critical consideration. 

Fabrication Process

The machining process you’ll be applying to the workpiece helps determine the clamping force you’ll need. You can get information about the forces a tool produces from the tool supplier. This data lets you calculate the amount of force necessary to hold the part in place.

Shop Environment

Clamping systems extend from your machining tools. You’ll need to account for the amount of space you have in the production environment when designing your system. The power sources you have available will affect your choice of hydraulic clamps as well.

Designing Your Clamping System

The right hydraulic clamps can reduce your cycle times and improve productivity.

When you want to find the best power clamps for your application, Kor-Pak can help. We’ll examine your needs and then consider all potential resources. We’ll find the best long-term solution to enhance your bottom line.

Contact us today for more information.

Posted in Industrial Equipment.