One step ahead

Featured Manufacturing

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of clamping equipment for machine tools, SMW Autoblok relies on the quality of BIG KAISER chucks to produce its world-renowned workpiece clamping systems. Available in the UK from Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC), the reliability, precision, range and rigidity of the BIG KAISER range allows Autoblok to excel with its production efficiency.

Founded in 1942 in Turin, Autoblok started with the production of automatic spindles. In the 60s, the company started marketing its products all over the world and the 1993 acquisition of the German company SMW created the SMW-Autoblok group. Now recognised as a world leader in the production and supply of clamping equipment for turning, grinding and milling machine tools.

Over the years, Autoblok’s production equipment has shifted from standard products to the development of customer-specific solutions. This trend has also led to a structural re-organisation, both in terms of production space and specialized personnel.  “Our historical reference market is automotive,” says Pier Domenico Bronzino, Operations Manager of Autoblok. “Let’s remember, however, that every round piece is usually turned, so it needs to be held.” And here the opportunities increase exponentially.

With BIG KAISER, without worries

Autoblok’s production can be divided into three main groups, the standard products, application spindles and customised solutions. The company uses BIG KAISER solutions that are offered by Tamworth based ITC, for all product lines. “BIG KAISER’s solutions are really reliable, precise, rigid and efficient – for us, it is a guarantee,” says Bronzino.

When precision machining, clamping the tool is one of the most important tasks. Even the most technologically advanced machine and tools cannot ensure high-precision execution when vibration comes into play. Autoblok’s fleet includes more than 100 machines equipped with the BIG-PLUS dual-contact system. This is the only system in the world able to guarantee simultaneous frontal and conical double contact between the machine spindle and the tool holder. As a result, the contact between the machine and the tools is extremely solid, ensuring maximum reliability and precision.

“For 15 years we have only purchased machine tools with the BIG-PLUS system. Thanks to this advantage, we know that we can complete the required machining operations, and also that we can be ambitious and go further,” says Bronzino.

Autoblok and BIG KAISER have enjoyed a relationship for 20 years, particularly with regard to the production plants in Italy. The partnership was initially directly with BIG DAISHOWA in Japan, and today, following the commercial reorganization of the group, it continues with BIG KAISER. Almost all in-house supplies to Autoblok are BIG Daishowa tool holders.

“20 years ago, we used other brands. The reason why we switched to BIG chucks is very simple: quality, precision, reliability and durability,” Bronzino explains. “Another feature that makes BIG DAISHOWA’s products stand out from the competition is longer tool life.”

Need for boring satisfied

BIG KAISER’s range of boring tools has been used in Autoblok’s Susa Valley production facilities for over a year now. The introduction of BIG KAISER boring tools was born from a very precise technical requirement, to be able to ensure maximum repeatability and consistency, guaranteeing high performance that other manufacturers could not.

The plant manager at Autoblok, who uses the boring system, shows no hesitation in highlighting the advantages of BIG KAISER boring bars. “The digital display of the BIG KAISER boring heads allows us to easily correct the dimension and fully comply with the tolerances. Thanks to the extended range of BIG KAISER heads, we often only need one tool for the entire machining cycle, saving a lot of time. In addition, they offer unparalleled rigidity.”

On large production and finishing machines, only BIG KAISER spindles are used. The impetus for the massive changeover to BIG spindles came in around 2008, when FMS (flexible manufacturing systems) were introduced at Autoblok with machines holding more than 200 tools. Since then, all new machine tools introduced at Autoblok have between 240 and 320 tools.

Pier Domenico Bronzino has no doubts: “The quality of the product can be seen immediately, even just by touching it. In addition, in finishing, the precision of the execution is evident, a fundamental requirement when you find yourself having to ‘split pennies.’“

For further information on how your business can achieve the precision, performance and stability that SMW Autoblok attains, please contact your local ITC representative to find out more.