Manufacturers always look for ways to cut production costs and uphold part quality. From automation to multi-tasking, investments in advanced hardware, tools and software pay off with increased productivity and finer part surface finishes. But the same shops that think nothing of acquiring new technologies often skimp on one critical aspect of their application processes – toolholding.

Shops that put expensive tools in bargain basement toolholders think they get more for their money, but in fact, these subpar options typically fail to hold tools securely or safely. That insecurity causes vibration that leads to runout, reduces machining accuracy and shortens the life of cutters and machine tool spindles. These bargain toolholders can also unexpectedly fail catastrophically, creating unsafe conditions that risk operator injury as well as machine damage.

With the accumulated costs of replacement toolholders, substandard production results and lost production time, those inexpensive, run-of-the-mill toolholders actually end up costing more in the long run than would their higher-quality counterparts. Shops looking to improve their toolholding often turn to high-performance solutions, but some of these, such as heatshrink, involve additional costs that can be hard to factor into decision-making.

For instance, shops can purchase durable heatshrink toolholders relatively inexpensively, but while these devices can offer secure toolholding, their press-in process depends on an induction-heating machine. Following clamping or unclamping, the assembled toolholders must cool down before an operator can use them – and that involves a several-minute wait. To reduce the cooling period, shops can purchase a high-end toolsetter that includes a built-in chilling unit and air blast, but that adds considerable cost and still leaves machine operators waiting for their tools.

Additionally, because the heatshrink process causes tools to change dimensions as they heat and cool, accurate toolsetting requires considerable operator input. To avoid using a complex formula that calculates and compensates for changes in tool diameter, operators must enter data on the toolsetting unit, set cooling rings and prepare the machine before it can assemble the tool. Both the calculations and the setup process take time and require knowledge to complete. A less-experienced operator may be unable to perform these tasks successfully.

Add up the amount of time involved in all these steps and multiply it by the number of setups in a typical year, and heatshrink tooling forces shops to sacrifice a measurable percentage of their productivity as non-cut time. The costs of safety concerns also factor into the toolholding selection, as the heat and fumes of the heatshrink process can pose safety issues for operators and other personnel. The constant heat-and-cool cycles also can shorten tool life.

By contrast, the automated REGO-FIX PGU 9500 tool mounter assembles a powRgrip toolholder in less than 10 seconds, ready to use immediately. Because the process involves only pressure – nine tons of it – the assembled tool requires no cooling period. Operators insert the toolholder, close the tool mounter door and press one button to produce superior clamping force, vibration damping and working precision. The entire process requires neither calculations nor experience to complete.

The powRgrip system also produces exceptional manufacturing results. During the 5-year/20,000-cycle powRgrip warranty, the total indicated runout of a properly maintained holder and collet stays at or below 0.0001″, giving the system industry-leading accuracy. Its simplicity eliminates wasted time while its lack of heat-reliant processes prevents toolsetting from compromising tool life or causing hazardous conditions.

Shops that take the short view of their tooling expenses wind up wasting money on flimsy toolholders, or losing precious time to toolsetting procedures that leave operators waiting for their equipment. REGO-FIX powRgrip offers the simple, elegant solutions to these problems, with a toolsetting system that combines long life with quick toolsetting and precise performance.