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Shrink-Fit Heater with Built-in Cooling

Although shrink-fit toolholding is common in most shops, operator safety is a major concern. This technology enables the operator to handle the toolholder without using gloves.

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Shrink-fit toolholding continues to strike me as one of the more fascinating devices in metalworking. It is a holding mechanism without traditional moving parts—just the toolholder body that opens and closes from thermal expansion and contraction. Strange as this holding mechanism might once have seemed, I now encounter shrink-fit toolholders in the majority of shops using high speed machining centers. Most recently I found it in this shop, covered in a recent issue.
 

The hot toolholder has always been one of the seemingly unavoidable hazards of shrink-fit. Operators wear gloves. Yet at IMTS last year, I encountered for the first time an innovation aimed at protecting the operator without gloves: a shrink-fit heater with a quick cooling cycle built in. As part of this heater’s automatic process, the toolholder gets swallowed into the heater’s own housing to receive rapid cooling with a wash of water. The tool starts the cycle cool, and returns to the operator cool. To see this shrink-fit heater in action, watch this video.