Should Job Shops Use Shrink Fit Technology?

Job shop owners are always looking for technologies to improve and increase production. Well, the folks at Haimer believe they've found one solution that helps machinists run at higher RPMs, decreases setup times and improves surface quality.

For over 100 years, machinists have accepted the fact that they can only run their machines at a certain RPM due to high runout and vibration caused by unbalance.

High performance shrink fit machine for all tools with intelligent NG coil, integrated contact cooling and Industry 4.0 ready configuration.



In order to assure cutting tool security in a tool holder in an effort to reduce the tool pull out rate, many operators turned to side lock holders. While this type of tool holder allowed the cutting tool to stay in the holder unless it broke off, it greatly affected the runout of the cutting tool and the balance of the tool assembly, which required machinists to continue to run at lower RPMs.

Another option was collet chucks, which had better runout but did not have as sufficient gripping torque so again, machinists had to run at low RPMs or they had to lighten their depths of cut.

As a response to this entire struggle, the shrink fit system was born.

Shrink fit, in essence, has no moving parts. With using shrink fit technology in machine shops, this requires an additional, external machine to heat up shrink fit holders so machinists can insert and remove cutting tools from the holder.

Start shrinking and cooling in record time.



The initial investment in the new machine and shrink fit tool holders comes with an additional price tag, which may scare off some machinists. However, when making any large purchase, it is important to understand how the new technology can improve machining operations.

"The answer lies in the performance benefits of the tool holder assembly," Brendt Holden, President of Haimer USA, explains. "The consistency of the set-up is the best improvement -- as since the set-up is the same from operator to operator, a shop can really rely on their predicted tool life. Also, in most cases, they can increase their metal removal rates based on the better balance, lower run-outs, and solid gripping torque that shrink fit holders give them in their operations."

If a machine shop was looking for another tool holder that offers similar benefits, typically the costs of those tool holder solutions are double the price of a high quality shrink fit holder. Based on their experience, Haimer USA has found tooling up two new machining centers with a shrink fit machine and shrink fit tool holders would generally equal the cost of tooling up the same two machines with a different style of high accuracy tool holders (high precision collet chucks, milling chucks, hydraulic chucks, etc.).

Perfectly coordinated assembly groups and electronic components make sure that only the clamping area of the chuck is heated in the shrinking process.



Then, once the machine is in the shop, all of the existing machines in the shop can use the technology in an effort to improve those operations as well. "We have found that an ROI for purchasing a high end shrink fit machine is easily paid off within 6 months for shops of all sizes," states Holden.

In addition, all shops have seen a benefit of using shrink fit technologies, regardless if they are doing high precision work or not. While this technology offers tight tolerances, it also allows for increased metal removal rates, less runout and faster tool changes. "So, whether or not you are doing 'high precision' work in your shop, just these 3 benefits would greatly assist any shops production," Holden describes.

Some machinists are hesitant to jump on the shrink fit bandwagon because they believe that adding this process will increase tool set-up complications.

Holden explains, "This is actually opposite of the reality of adding shrink fit tooling in the shop environment." Using shrink fit holders is the fastest and most consistent method of cutting tool clamping. In five to ten seconds, a tool holder's cutting tool is changed and it is repeatable the exact same way from operator to operator. "There are no variables in the set-up of the tool holders assembly whether you have been setting up tools for 20 years or 2 weeks -- the cutting tools go in and out the same every time," Brendt explains. This leads to the most consistent set-up which then translates to a consistent part production and reliable tool life.

Haimer's spectrum of machines range from the beginner model, Power Clamp Basic, to the high-end device Power Clamp Premium Plus.



Not only do machinists have to find high quality shrink fit chucks, but they must recognize the standard shrink fit holder design might not be appropriate for the application. HAIMER realized this and expanded their shrink fit tool holder offering to consider the geometry of the holder. The company made a wide variety of shrink fit holders for all applications from heavy roughing, to fine finishing and from slower speed applications, to high speed applications.

While it is important to consider all of your options, using shrink fit technology offers many benefits to machine shops. From better runout accuracy to increased gripping torque, the shrink fit technology can help machinists run at higher RPMs, decrease setup times and improve surface quality.

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