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Automated, modular and reusable clamping system with rapid provisioning time

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20200723002
Publication Date: 24 July 2020


A German SME developed an automated, modular and flexible clamping system which allows for the clamping of all workpieces with only one system. Advantages and innovations include its reusability and rapid provision time. Machining and manufacturing companies from various fields are sought for commercial agreements with technical assistance. Technical cooperation and research agreements with partners to further improve the technology are also possible.


The professional clamping of workpieces is crucial for successful machining results. Traditional clamping systems are inflexible and have to be tailor-made in order to fit the respective workpiece. Traditional devices are not reusable and the workpiece has to be clamped manually which makes the clamping process time-consuming and cost-intensive. 

A German SME has developed an automated, modular, flexible and hydraulic clamping system which can solve these problems and optimize the production process of workpieces. The company is an academic-spin-off of a renowned German research institute for production technology with a scientific background in research on vibration-damping clamping systems for complex and unstable workpieces in particular.

The system developed allows for the automated and rapid clamping of all workpieces with only one system. The modular design of the system enables users to adjust the system flexibly and to reuse all hydraulic components for other workpieces easily.
It consists of three different units: The supply station, the clamping plates and the hydraulic clamping modules.
All elements have mechanical connectors and can be combined in various ways by „clicking“ them in. It allows for the conversion of the system for other workpieces in only a few minutes.
Holes are drilled into the clamping plates and the modular positioning elements are screwed in, creating an exact 6-point-net that aligns the workpiece perfectly. Now the connectors for the hydraulic clamping modules are screwed in and the special fixture for the workpiece is ready. If after some time the user wants to machine workpieces of the same type, he or she only has to store the plate and after fixing the clamping modules the workpiece can be produced again without losing the reference.
The supply station has five zero-point chucks on its upper side to fix the clamping plate. There are several pressure modules on the sides on which the maximum pressure and clamping sequence for each clamping module can be set individually. The hydraulic pressure is generated by a built-in, pneumatically operated pump. An external hydraulic pressure supply is therefore not required for operation; only compressed air has to be connected to the system.
Various clamping modules are available for the clamping system. Depending on the machining task and the workpiece geometry, suitable clamping modules are used to ensure distortion-free and secure clamping of the workpiece. All clamping modules can be simply pushed onto a standardized clamping rail at the clamping plate and locked into the correct position with a „click“. To disconnect the module from the clamping plate a button on the clamping element has to be pressed so that the module can be reinstalled in another set-up.

The system can be used as a partially or fully automated solution. The partially automated version can easily be combined with existing machining systems and can be operated by each machine operator. The fully automated version can be integrated into existing automation systems through a PLC (programmable logic controller).

Machining and manufacturing companies from various fields are sought for commercial agreements with technical assistance. The necessary technical knowhow will be delivered by the German SME. The German company can also adjust the existing product to specific customers' needs in order to produce tailor-made solutions. Technical cooperation and research agreements with companies or research institutions to further improve the technology in the framework of EU-funded projects are also possible.

The German SME offers to develop and present a first clamping for a desired workpiece free of charge as a concept in a web meeting, in order to demonstrate the capabilities and the economic potential of the system using a concrete example. A non-disclosure agreement can of course be concluded before a CAD model of the desired workpiece is made available.




Advantages and Innovations

Compared to conventional solutions the new technology is characterised by significant savings in costs and time. Furthermore better results can be achieved with complex pieces.

- Cost savings: The flexible and modular design allows for the reusability of the system for every workpiece. There is no need for tailor-made clamping systems anymore which reduces costs in the machining and production process significantly. Cost savings can be expected from the second workpiece onwards machined in the clamping system. Clamping technology is no longer a tied investment for the production of individual workpieces but becomes as flexible as 3D-printing.
- Time savings: The automated and hydraulic system ensures a very rapid clamping of workpieces and more efficient CNC (computer numerical control) machining processes. The time needed for clamping can be reduced from approximately 20 minutes to only 10-20 seconds.
- The high vibration damping properties of the system prevent the deformation especially of complex and unstable workpieces during the machining process
- The system is very easy to use (“clicking-in” of modules)

Stage Of Development

Already on the market

Requested partner

Partners sought are CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machining companies and manufacturing companies with CNC machining from the metal or 3D-printing  sector. Tasks to be performed is the integration of the automated clamping system into existing machining processes. Possible partners are also foundrys that machine their parts after casting . Other possible partners are machine builders and machine suppliers which can integrate the system in key-turn solutions for end-users. 

Within commercial agreements with technical assistance the German company will offer the technological know-how needed to integrate the system in existing machining solutions or adjust it to customers individual needs.

Technical cooperation and research agreements with companies from the above-mentioned areas or with research institutes to further improve the technology, e.g., in the framework of EU-funded projects are also possible and would have to be discussed.

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