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Airtech

Clamping Composites with Ice

20 August 2010

At the Aero Engineering and Composites Engineering show, Leader Chuck Systems will exhibit innovative component workholding and fixturing solutions that use a film of ice to securely hold composite components.

As the UK agent for this technology, Leader will demonstrate the advantages of using this fixturing medium. Managing director, Mark Jones, explains: “Visitors will see just how quick and easy AMCC’s innovative solutions are to use. Clamping with an ice film allows composite parts to be held rigidly without deflection or distortion, and no mechanical stress is transferred to the part. This makes the technology ideal for grinding, milling and turning aircraft parts, medical implants, motorsports components and other manufactured goods. The technology is also ideally suited to applications where vacuum or magnetic fixturing could not be applied. For instance, when the components have through holes or the material is non ferrous, which includes ceramics, composites and engineering plastics.”

Leader can draw on AMCC wealth of experience in the field of freeze-clamping flexible and fragile parts in a production environment. Only a regular shop floor compressed airline is required to operate the unit. A fine spray of water is laid down on the freezing plate and the component is positioned in a jig or specially designed top plate. The ‘freeze’ cycle is selected on the compact control unit and within seconds the film of water turns to ice, which clamps the component ready for machining. After the machining operation the ‘thaw’ cycle is selected and the control unit releases the part.

The Aero Engineering and Composites Engineering shows run from the 29 to 30 September 2010 at the NEC, Birmingham.