Precision in swiss quality

PSA Parts & Systems AG is a conventional sub-contractor with headquarters in Au, Switzerland and an assembly plant in Malaysia. The 50 or so employees generate an annual turnover of approx. ten million Swiss francs. The system supplier has been manufacturing a wide variety of components for its customers for over 45 years: ranging from highly complex and ultra-small parts and small batches to complex mechatronic assemblies and components weighing up to 2,000 kg. PSA handles the procurement of raw materials, mechanical machining and assembly of the ready-to-install assembly, including the required heat and surface treatments. Based in the Rhine valley, the company serves customers operating within engineering, medical technology, semiconductors and aerospace.

PSA Parts & Systems AG has relied on the GARANT ZeroClamp zero point clamping system from the Hoffmann Group for the turning and milling of tool steel, aluminium and cast iron since September 2017. In doing so, the sub-contractor benefits from high accuracy, time savings and increased productivity.

“In 2017, we were looking for a new zero point clamping system for turning and milling tool steel, aluminium and cast iron. We received support in choosing a suitable solution from our long-standing system partner and consultant for quality tools, workstations and storage and personal protective equipment: SFS unimarket AG – a partner of the Hoffmann Group,” recalls Roland Gächter, CEO of PSA AG.

“We had been using another product beforehand. However, it did not meet our needs in terms of turning and milling, particularly when oil was involved,” continues the CEO. “In the end, our contact at SFS unimarket brought the GARANT ZeroClamp product to our attention in May 2017. We were impressed by its versatility and flexibility, and immediately decided to make the investment. The system has now been in daily use since September 2017.”

Precise and reliable clamping – even for complex tasks

GARANT ZeroClamp scores highly thanks to its simple design, high flexibility and vast range of applications. With compensation for thermal expansion always in relation to the centre axis (absolute zero point), only one type of clamping stud is required, released pneumatically at an air pressure of 5.5 bar. This eliminates the need for sword studs and floating studs, which are commonly used with other systems.

Conventional technologies take a different approach, using floating studs to compensate for thermal expansion. This can lead in particular to inaccuracies around the centre axis during workpiece turns.

With GARANT ZeroClamp, absolute thermal symmetry is provided at all times due to the central zero point. That increases the precision of the production process and reduces scrap. Additional security (form fit) against centrifugal force also offers security when turning. What’s more, using a single type of clamping stud enables a whole range of additional components such as the GARANT multi-point clamping rail, extension bases, NC vices, 5-axis vices and also components to be positioned precisely on the zero point clamping system to an accuracy of micrometres. This makes the system flexible to use and easy to handle. A high level of modularity is also guaranteed. This gives us a great degree of freedom when arranging the clamping points on the component. PSA uses clamping pots with a 138 mm diameter and 40 kN clamping force.

Higher productivity thanks to up to 95% shorter setup, change and ancillary times

The biggest benefit to PSA is the time saved thanks to the up-to-95% shorter setup, change and ancillary times – and the resulting increase in productivity within the production processes, which depending on the circumstances can be up to 70%. All this plus the reduction in machinery downtime generates addition-al cost benefits within production. And if the component needs further machining after the measurement process, the component can be positioned quickly, precisely and with high repetition accuracy – be it for a small batch or a one-off item. The repetition accuracy of less than 2 µm is extremely beneficial.

“We would recommend GARANT ZeroClamp every time,” says Gächter in conclusion. “It is an extremely accurate, easy-to-use and low-maintenance system without hydraulic oil, which means it has no leakage and is unaffected by chips. It’s easy to use and increases process reliability. The price-performance ratio is also great.” The system operates with stability and precision, even when used vertically.

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