BS in Industrial Technology
Pratt and Whitney-Rocketdyne commissioned the task of analyzing and recommending a new workpiece fixturing clamp. The company has been using the same, outdated clamping mechanism for decades and are suffering from too high of a changeover time on the clamps between jobs. After attending the International Manufacturing Technology Show and seeing some of the new technologies available, the company provided a list of potential new “quick-change” clamping systems to examine. A sampling of three clamps from this list that ranged in design characteristics were chosen to see which kind of clamp to recommend. After a thorough process of research and consideration of factors affecting workpiece holding during machining, it was decided that a practical approach was best to test and analyze the clamps. Designing a kind of comprehensive “standard test method” that would relate depth of cut and other machining variables to force exerted on the clamps was considered, but ultimately deemed impractical since it would be impossible to anticipate all the variables of machining configurations that Pratt and Whitney may use the clamps with in the future. Any data generated on such an experiment would not be very useful to the company. The project was eventually simplified to an analysis of each clamp’s ability to withstand tangential force, as these limits would be applicable to any future application. An experiment was designed that would apply side force to a clamped test block, measure that force, and detect the point at which the test block displaced. Combining that data with a qualitative analysis of the clamps themselves, a final recommendation was formed.