1st Machine Tool Accessories Ltd

Machine Tool
Workholding Specialists

3rd January 2012

Chick Multi-Lok & Qwik-Lok Cut Set-Up Times By 80% at DMM Engineering

Chick Workholding

Mountaineering and outdoor products manufacturer, DMM Engineering, is reaping huge productivity rewards as a result of installing Chick workholding systems from 1st Machine Tool Accessories Ltd (1st MTA), Salisbury.

The fast-acting vices, 24 in all plus five tombstones, have cut setting times by 70 to 80 per cent. This translates into a massive 30 to 40 per cent productivity increase on vertical machining centres (VMCs) across DMM’s Llanberis factory in North Wales.

The firm has used component clamping solutions from Chick Workholding for about 15 years, ever since the company took delivery of its first machining centre. The company evaluated a number of potential suppliers to determine which would allow the capabilities of the new investment to be utilised to the full.

Kevin Edwards, CNC manager at DMM, commented, “After considering several alternatives, we concluded that Chick Multi-Lok and Qwik-Lok systems from 1st MTA would best meet our needs. They are among the most robust, yet versatile options available, combining the benefits of traditional tombstone fixturing with the advantages of interchangeable jaws and a wide variety of workholding accessories.

“Not only was our first Chick system quick to assemble and easy to use, but as operators became more proficient, they found ingenious ways to reconfigure the equipment to meet a multitude of diverse applications.

“It soon became evident that the vices were increasing our productive machine time by more than we originally anticipated, often reducing lead times from days to a matter of hours, resulting in very fast payback on investment.”

Advantage is routinely taken of the ability to clamp components quickly using Chick’s QwikChange snap-on / snap-off jaws. They can be used with an extensive range of dedicated fixtures, resulting in drastically reduced setup times for both new and repeat jobs.

Sometimes, two or four components are clamped at a time, enabling twice or four times the number to be processed per cycle in comparison with old-fashioned vices. The system effectively cuts by a factor of two or four the frequency of tool change, reducing non-machining time and speeding cycle time per component. A majority of components are machined from aluminium forgings, while solid billet currently accounts for some 15 per cent of throughput, work that was previously subcontracted but is steadily being brought back in-house.

Mr Edwards concluded, “Chick vices enable us to remain competitive, whether we are manufacturing batches in the thousands or much smaller runs, ensuring that we provide a highly flexible and responsive service to our customers.

“Furthermore, the accuracy of the workholding units supplied by 1st MTA and the quality of the support provided by their applications and installation engineers continues to underpin the precision machining that is crucial for our safety-critical products.”

The Chick One-Lok and the full range of System 5 Products are available from 1st MTA. If you have any questions or queries about the products mentioned in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 783 0510 or enquiries@1mta.com.