Pneumatic clamps are used to hold and secure workpieces in a fixture or on a machine tool during production runs. They provide a quicker method of securing a workpiece to the machine than manual clamps and can be adjusted with just one hand. These power clamps can be found in a variety of styles and sizes and are commonly seen in the woodworking, cutting and gluing, welding, drilling, tapping, reaming, and assembly sectors.
Power clamps come in both cylinder and block form, with preset clamping forces available from a few lbf up to several hundred lbf for more precise adjustments. They can also be configured as swing clamps, which can swing away from the workstation in either the open or closed position. Cylinder based pneumatic clamps are often more compact in design and offer higher cycle speeds and duty cycles than their block counterparts.
These pneumatic clamps use compressed air to actuate their clamping system. They have a cylinder with a piston rod, a clamping arm that can be moved up or down depending on the desired positioning of the workpiece, and a nut that can be tightened to secure the workpiece to the clamping arm. When the air is turned on, the piston rod will be pushed down by the compressed air and this will drive the clamping arm into the fulcrum to generate a clamping force that can then be adjusted with just one hand.
In addition to high performance, these pneumatic clamps are low maintenance. Their double-acting FESTO cylinders are tempered for longevity and have Teflon bearings to prevent loosening due to vibration or impacts. They are also sealed with a lubricant to keep the seals clean and rust free, and they use a threadlocker to avoid loosening or stripping.
Another advantage of these pneumatic clamps is that they can be operated at lower pressures than hydraulic systems. This makes them safer to operate in the event of a leak, and they also consume less energy than electric powered systems. However, the cylinders can lose some of their energy through heat during the compression process, so a number of measures can be taken to make your pneumatic clamping system more efficient and reduce energy consumption.
These types of power clamps are also easy to install. They can be mounted in a variety of ways, and they are designed for weld spatter resistance to ensure a long service life. They can also be fitted with a flow control valve to allow the user to control how much air is used.
Pneumatic clamps are ideal for many applications, especially when space is limited during processing. They are fast and can be used to clamp workpieces with different shapes and dimensions quickly, which is ideal for short run jobs. These clamps are also versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks such as securing parts to a workbench or holding them in place while they’re being processed on the machine.