Several characteristics affect clamp performance and productivity. The real cost of clamps used in end-of-arm tooling is dependent on factors that have a major effect on production. While a clamp’s original price is important, other variables affect production and reduce the cost of ownership.
First, the time of delivery affects the cost of clamps. Delivery times are essential in any company since they are passed on to the company’s customers. If the company does not receive clamps in time for a project promised to a customer, the customer will be dissatisfied and will look for business elsewhere. Inventory levels are directly related to delivery time, and savvy companies will ensure their stock is replaced in a timely manner.
Flexibility is the second factor affecting clamps. Clamps should be easy to reconfigure, so that a few standard types can be used for a variety of applications. Interchangeable mounts help the clamp with flexibility; side or rear mount is standard in most plants, and some clamps are designed to be changed from a side to a rear or vice versa. Standard jaw styles are also used often; if interchangeable jaws are used, inventory can be kept low. Since tips need to be changed more frequently than any other part of a clamp, interchangeable tips are crucial. The tip mounting design should be simple in order to allow standard or specialty tips to be attached easily. With an adjustable jaw opening, the standard clamp can be adjusted to the type of opening the application needs.
Clamp durability also has a big impact on cost. Companies should invest in clamps that have hardened, adjustable impact plates to protect the business end of a clamp from damage, as well as clamps with a hardened jaw mechanism so the clamp’s performance doesn’t suffer. All components should be compatible with die lubricants and other fluids to avoid actuator problems. Finally, since mounts are an integral part of a clamping system, they should be rugged without slipping or loosening.
Finally, a good-quality clamp should deliver 5 million or more cycles with a constant grip force. The mounts should hold position with the fasteners remaining tight. Tips and mechanisms don’t show wear, and lubrication is not necessary in the cylinder or jaw mechanism.
Delivery, flexibility, durability, and a useful life are the four main factors to consider when investing in clamps. RobotWorx can help you choose the right clamp and parts to fit your industrial robot. Contact us today at 740-251-4312 for more information.