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Hydraulic and Metal: Picking and Maintaining Different Types of Clamps

Hydraulics have been a part of manufacturing since the 1880s when a hydraulic system was first used to drive machinery in London factories.

Hydraulic systems can apply constant and highly controllable pressure almost instantly. This makes hydraulics ideal for clamping and workholding purposes.

There are numerous types of hydraulic clamps. Each has its own benefits in particular workholding situations.

So read on as we take a look at some of the most popular types of clamps and how to keep them maintained.

Cylinder Clamps

Cylinder clamps look exactly as you would expect.

The piston is located within a cylindrical housing. The body of the cylindrical housing will often be threaded, making it easy fix in place. The hydraulics drive the piston against the work, applying a constant pressure to keep it in place.

Cylinder clamps are one of the most common types of hydraulic clamps. They come in two basic forms.

Single Acting

Single acting cylinder clamps can only drive the piston in one direction.

This piston is driven into place and held there with constant pressure. But it cannot be withdrawn again using hydraulic power. The piston will often retract with the use of a spring, which makes it slower to react. It also means less control.

These clamps are ideal for situations where the speed of releasing the clamp is unimportant.

Double Acting

Double acting cylinder clamps use hydraulic power to drive the piston both into place and back into the cylinder.

This offers far more precise control during the unclamping cycle. It is also vital when timing sequences are critical to the manufacturing process.

Double acting cylinder clamps are far more complex than single acting clamps. They are ideal for situations where you need more control over the speed and timing of the release.

Swing Clamps

Swing clamps operate by employing two separate motions.

First, the clamping arm will rotate through 90 degrees to position itself in the correct place. It will then clamp down on the work, holding it in location. When released, the clamp disengages and then swings back into its start position.

This leaves the work area completely free for new components to be loaded and unloaded. Swing clamps are ideal for situations where work is continually inserted and removed.

Maintaining Your Hydraulic Clamps

The key to maintaining your clamps is to act before there is an issue.

Preventative maintenance is essential. Keep your fixtures free from coolant when not in use and store them in a cool and dry environment. Be sure to flush your systems at least once per year as well as running an annual maintenance checkup.  

Are You Looking to Buy These Types of Clamps?

If you’re looking for these types of clamps or other hydraulic clamping system components, then you’re in the right place.

We offer a wide range of hydraulic clamps from leading manufacturers such as Enerpac, Vektek, and Monroe. We also offer a wide range of other industrial products such as brakes and clutches, industrial couplings, and torque limiters.

If you have any questions about the products that we offer or would like to discuss your machining and fabrication requirements, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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