Getting a grip on clamping with AM

Posted on 30 Mar 2019 and read 572 times
Getting a grip on clamping with AMMiniaturisation is becoming more prevalent in industry, along with the respective machining applications and production processes.

This in turn requires clamping chucks to become smaller, more precise and more powerful.

Rugby-based cutting-tool manufacturer Mapal ( is leading the way by using additive manufacturing (in the form of selective laser melting) to produce small-format chucks and tool-holders.

Whether in electrical engineering, medical technology, the aerospace, watch or robotics sectors, many products are becoming smaller, smarter, more user-friendly and more powerful.

The radial run-out accuracy of the clamping chucks for these parts must be almost zero, and there must be no contamination by micro-particles.

At Mapal, additive manufacturing by selective laser melting is now used in all product areas, and the company has succeeded in making clamping chucks in miniature format with the HSK-E25 connection for the direct clamping of tools with a diameter of 3mm.

In order to guarantee radial run-out accuracy, the company has integrated innovative clamping-chamber systems into the new clamping chucks that fit snugly against the tool shank. They are equipped with dirt grooves to displace
microscopic particles.

The required balancing value is guaranteed by internal balancing geometries, including support structures that optimise the weight and strength distribution.

Overall, the small-format chucks can achieve a more homogeneous and spindle-friendly acceleration and deceleration for the entire tool system (consisting of the clamping chuck and the cutting tool).

By using additive manufacturing, Mapal has succeeded in equipping the clamping chucks for the miniature sector with decentralised coolant outlets.

Using parameters such as coolant pressure, setting dimensions and spindle speed, these optimised outlets are designed in such a way that they convey the lubricant directly to the cutting point.

The new small-format clamping chucks from Mapal enable simple and quick clamping of the tool without training courses, high re-tooling costs or costly peripheral devices.

The hydraulic chucks are operated by using a simple screw.

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