Speedgrip Chuck Company designs and creates workholding products for customers in every industry where metal cutting is a part of the manufacturing process.

Workholding is an essential part of manufacturing accurate gears of all shapes and sizes. That’s why it’s important to have the best high precision workholding solutions available.

To that end, Speedgrip Chuck Company has been offering those workholding solutions for 75 years and counting.

“We’ve held every imaginable gear type/profile from spur and helical to beveled and beyond,” said Matthew Mayer, president of Speedgrip Chuck Company. “Our high precision workholding solutions easily maintain 0.0002” repeatability and provide low TIR. Our primary focus is on metalcutting processes — turning, grinding, and milling — but also on balancing fixtures and inspection gauging.”

With all of its workholding solutions, Speedgrip Chuck is well-positioned to offer solutions tailored to each customer’s specific needs, according to Mayer.

“What differentiates us is our customized workholding solutions,” he said. “While many of our competitors no longer provide specials, 75 percent of what we develop are customized solutions tailored to the customers’ specific machine, application, and process needs. We’re able to do this because of our solid engineering capabilities.”

The QCR Quick-Change Receiver enables quick changeovers for ID/OD collets, jaw chucks or face driver workholding devices in less than five minutes for just-in-time production runs. (Courtesy: Speedgrip Chuck Company)

Strong engineering expertise

Speedgrip Chuck has been around for 75 years, and Mayer said there is well over 400 years of combined workholding knowledge behind the company’s doors, and that level of experience and retention rate translate into the industry’s highest quality engineered products.

In an industry that is always evolving, Speedgrip Chuck’s experience and expertise become paramount. As an example, Mayer mentioned the automatic transmission and how it has progressed from three speeds to six, and now, those are at 10 to 12 speeds.

“Essentially, this means that gears have to run at much tighter tolerances to reduce the amount of heat and noise generation that becomes more of an issue as the number of gears in a transmission increases,” he said.

In addition to the tighter tolerances required on today’s gear profiles, higher TIR accuracies are needed. In the past, diaphragm pin chucks were used that held gears at three points of contact to even out distortion, according to Mayer.

“That’s not good enough anymore,” he said. “Now, when gears come out of the heat-treat process, each distorts differently from gear to gear. To correct for this, we EDM or grind the tooth profile into a collet. This, in turn, allows the workholding to pick up the pitch diameter and spread the gear distortion over every single tooth.”

Additionally, hard turning, as opposed to grinding, is another process that benefits greatly from Speedgrip Chuck workholding, according to Mayer.

“The results are much truer running gears with better tolerances by going into every single tooth, picking up the pitch diameter and spreading that distortion over every single tooth vs. solutions that provide only three points of contact,” he said.

Speedgrip’s NDS Quick-Change Mandrel uses a rear bayonet collet connection that eliminates the need for draw screws and allows complete access to the face and outer diameters. (Courtesy: Speedgrip Chuck Company)

Three new products

To keep customers ahead of the competition in a constantly changing industry, Mayer said that Speedgrip Chuck continually develops new and innovative solutions. Three products recently brought to market include the NDS Quick-Change Mandrel, QCR Quick-Change Receiver, and the CSC Contactless Stroke Control.

“The goal of these new products is to ensure manufacturers, including gearmakers, the fastest possible changeovers all while maintaining the highest precision,” he said.

The NDS Quick-Change Mandrel uses a rear bayonet collet connection that eliminates the need for draw screws and allows complete access to the gear face and outer diameters. This engineering enhancement improves workpiece accessibility to quickly change over between part families.

“In addition to providing full face and OD access, the system is a quick-change mandrel, so the workstop and the collet stay contained, which is most advantageous,” Mayer said. “We had a customer working with 75 different gear profiles and wanting to hold them from the ID for a hobbing operation, and they were elated because the workstop and the collet stay contained together for job kitting. The operator no longer has to mix and match collets and workstops, struggling to figure out which collet goes with what workstop.”

According to Mayer, the NDS Quick-Change Mandrel also has air sensing capabilities.

“It can detect part seat confirmation, which goes hand-in-hand with automation,” he said. “Because the operator is out of the equation, a shop must ensure that the part is loaded and seated properly in the workholding device before starting the cutting operation.”

The Speedgrip QCR Quick-Change Receiver is a manually actuated cam-lock receiving plate that attaches to CNC lathe spindles and dramatically reduces the time needed to change workholding clamping devices, according to Mayer. With the QCR Quick-Change Receiver, the time needed for operators to effortlessly switch ID/OD collets, jaw chucks, or face driver workholding devices on their machines is cut from an hour to five minutes, making them well suited for just-in-time production. Similar to tool retention in the spindle, the QCR has automatic release of the draw connections. 

“Because the QCR allows entire workholding devices to be quickly changed-over, shops can go from a three-jaw chuck, to a mandrel, to a collet chuck, to a face-driver, and change-over the workholding device on the spindle without having to struggle with any draw connections,” he said. “It’s similar, if you will, to tool retention in a spindle. A pull stud is used to actuate the device and a cam lock release.”

Having to go to the back of a machine to adjust the proximity switches for a clamp stroke signal can be time consuming — especially when adjusting it for mandrels with strokes of 1mm or 2mm, according to Mayer.

“It is for this reason that we developed our CSC Contactless Stroke Control that takes a very accurate measurement of clamp stroke –  full open stroke or a full closed stroke,” he said. “The system is so precise, shops can also use it to detect a good or bad workpiece and basically  measure it while it’s being machined.”

As a smart manufacturing solution, Mayer said the CSC Contactless Stroke Control automatically displays digital measurement of the cylinder stroke while clamped on the workpiece as well as machine feedback, stroke position and real-time workpiece dimension data during operation. It then sends a clamp confirmation signal to a machine tool’s CNC.

In addition to confirming part and stroke position, the control data aids in determining whether part parameters are in range prior to machining and helps prevent scrap and tool damage if workpiece clamping is not confirmed. Plus, the simple, affordable design quickly mounts to virtually any CNC workholding device and easily retrofits to older machines.

Speedgrip Chuck’s NDS and QCR (on the right) are shown together as a standard solution for rapid changeover. (Courtesy: Speedgrip Chuck Company)

Customer challenges

New products naturally progress from working with customers and their unique challenges, and those customers have easy access to Speedgrip Chuck’s project engineering methodology, according to Mayer.

“We’ve created a web-based inquiry form not only for our customers but for our sales representatives in the field, so we can ensure they’re asking all the pertinent, detailed questions essential to start a project,” he said. “It’s a very detailed form, and we try to gather as much information about the application, the machine tool, the process, and what their challenges might be or what they are trying to accomplish with the workholding solution. Getting this information upfront eliminates a lot of the back-and-forth and guesswork in the development of a fully engineered solution.”

“Many of our competitors are hesitant to spend the money on design until they have a purchase order in hand from a customer, but our philosophy is the opposite,” Mayer said. “Engineering for us is a cost of doing business. We’re going to give the customer a full engineered solution along with the quotation. Our digital-based quoting system provides them a full 3D rendering right there in the quote to see exactly what they’re purchasing.”

Looking to the future

The introduction of three new products demonstrates how Speedgrip Chuck is on top of the industry’s needs, according to Mayer.

“Many of our competitors are struggling during this manufacturing downturn that we’ve seen this last year, but we’re up 15 percent,” he said. “I’m proud of that, and I’m proud of our people and our engineering abilities.”

The engineering abilities of Speedgrip Chuck will only serve to push the company into the future as it focuses on automation solutions and intelligent feedback from workholding devices, according to Mayer.

“A lot of machine tools are similar — 3-axis, 4-axis, 5-axis — but really where the difference is made is in the tooling and the workholding and how a shop approaches the part,” he said. “And in my opinion, our years of experience in this industry allow Speedgrip Chuck to really help guide customers in the right direction.” 

MORE INFO  speedgrip.com

Previous articleWhat is a worm gear?
Next articleQ&A with Chelleigh Cuddy
is the editor of Gear Solutions. He can be reached at 800-366-2185 ext. 204.