The term "tooling" within an industrial setting typically refers to the utilization of one or more manufacturing devices intended to assist fabrication. Manufacturers often rely heavily upon these aids during the finishing process, for instance. Tooling today encompasses the use of jigs, patterns, gauges, dies, molds, and a wide array of cutting and boring tools. Fixtures constitute one type of device employed during tooling.
About Industrial Fixtures
In industrial and manufacturing environments, the term ''fixtures'' typically refers to support devices which, unlike jigs, remain stationary and do not play an independent role in helping to form a work piece. A fixture may help hold materials during the finishing process, for example. It may also enable a manufacturer to ascertain easily whether or not a particular work piece meets desired dimensional specifications. However, it won't help guide a cutting blade like a pattern or jig, nor will it shape material like a mold or a die.
Manufacturers utilize fixtures during specific types of finishing operations. They sometimes classify these devices in terms of the roles performed by specific fixtures. For instance, a single shop floor may contain inspection fixtures, drilling fixtures, milling fixtures, grinding fixtures and assembly fixtures. These devices tend to consist of heavier, bulkier materials than the jigs utilized in conjunction with industrial equipment. Manufacturers either affix them permanently to industrial machinery or to the facility (like a real estate fixture), or otherwise secure them firmly in place before use.
Principles of Fixture Design
Well designed fixtures should promote easier, safer inspection, fabrication, finishing or assembly operations. The wide variety of fixtures available today exist because manufacturers customize these devices to meet their specific equipment and production needs. BuntyLLC assists customers in designing and developing a wide array of useful fixtures.
Types of Manufacturing Fixtures
Today manufacturing facilities utilize numerous types of fixtures, particularly during finishing. These devices play an essential role in promoting smoother, more efficient production. Some popular types of industrial fixtures have gained widespread use in certain manufacturing settings:
Inspection Fixtures: Some manufacturers employ fixtures to assist them in identifying parts which fail to meet specific dimensional requirements. For instance, during finishing, they may place a work piece in a fixed slot or other holding device designed to meet specific dimensional parameters. Materials which won't fit the inspection fixture may require further finishing in order to comply with product specifications.
Drilling Fixtures: Some types of fixtures provide a permanent platform for holding work pieces in place during drilling operations. The fixtures don't guide the drill bit, yet do secure objects undergoing finishing.
Milling Fixtures: Some types of milling machinery utilize specific fixtures to help hold work pieces in place tightly. Considerable variations exist in the milling fixtures relied upon by individual manufacturers. Form milling fixtures and straddle milling fixtures represent just two specialized varieties of milling fixtures used in some manufacturing operations.
Grinding Fixtures: Specialized fixtures help secure work pieces in position during grinding operations. They may prevent the work piece from slipping or otherwise moving, allowing manufacturers to grind within tight tolerances. These devices frequently work in conjunction with specialized jigs.
Welding Fixtures: A variety of different fixtures enable manufacturers to position materials securely in place prior to initiating welding. Some manufacturers custom design these fixtures to fit the varied needs of individual welding shops.
Assembly Fixtures: Today many manufacturers expedite the process of assembling products with multiple components by using customized assembly fixtures to hold constituent parts. For instance, a manufacturer relying upon the hand-assembly of items with several constituent components may use a fixture containing multiple trays holding different parts. Fixtures permit faster assembly.
Advantages of Fixtures
Like jigs, industrial fixtures have gained widespread use in manufacturing environments because they supply some definite advantages for high volume manufacturing facilities. Just consider a few of the benefits these devices provide:
- Immobile fixtures help secure work pieces. While they don't contribute to forming or shaping directly, they do prevent work pieces from moving or slipping during cutting, drilling, milling and other operations. The use of fixtures ultimately enables faster manufacturing, since fabricators won't need to pause frequently to readjust the location of work pieces.
- In many plants, fixtures perform a valuable role in promoting safer manufacturing protocols. For example, by helping workers to readily distinguish between constituent components within an assembly, an assembly fixture my prevent the inadvertent use of incorrect parts in the final product. Similarly, fixtures which secure work pieces during operations such as grinding and milling help prevent this material from slipping out of place and potentially shattering. They help safeguard people in the vicinity against accidental injuries.
- Fixtures help promote seamless part interchangeability by assisting manufacturers in generating specific components in a uniform way. Like jigs, they facilitate high volume production. The ability to create completely identical components ultimately expedites the process of constructing products.
- In many settings, the use of fixtures promotes more streamlined, cost-effective manufacturing operations. By preventing work pieces from moving out of position, a fixture helps reduce some work piece losses. This service may marginally enhance the cost-effectiveness of a production run. If the savings which ensue outweigh the cost of developing and installing the fixture, the fixture increases the profitability of manufacturing.
- Some inspection fixtures may help prevent the inadvertent misuse of industrial machinery to finish defectively sized (or shaped) work pieces. Employees don't expend resources finishing work pieces which fail to meet the applicable quality control standards.