Workholding Manufacturer A Model For Success

In the field of workholding we have known SMWAutoblok as a worldwide supplier of quality chucks. From its base in northern Italy the company has spread its knowledge around the globe.

In the field of workholding we have known SMWAutoblok as a worldwide supplier of quality chucks. From its base in northern Italy the company has spread its knowledge around the globe. I recently met with Sid Roth at an exhibition in Germany. Mr. Roth is the President of SMWAutoblok USA, based in the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Wheeling. Our conversation drifted to the topic that manufacturers must continue to grow and expand or they will drift into oblivion.

Mr. Roth was quick to point out that his company did everything possible to continue to be one of the industry leaders in the workholding field. Autoblok’s 1993 acquisition of SMW Spannsysteme GmbH moved it onto center stage in the world of workholding manufacturing. SMW was a German manufacturer of quick-jaw-change chucks, Big Bore air chucks and steady rests. Since this acquisition, the manufacturing area in Germany has increased 2 1/2 times. A new 32,000-square-foot manufacturing addition will concentrate on high volume manufacturing of chucks and steady rests, while the original manufacturing area will be devoted to all of the other German made products. In addition, SMWAutoblok of Italy has relocated into larger more modern manufacturing facilities that are many times the size of the original factory buildings. One of the plants in Italy is dedicated to the high volume production of standard chucks, and another facility is dedicated to the lower volume products such as automatic indexing chucks and large diameter chucks, while a third produces only rotating hydraulic cylinders.

The next addition was OML of Italy, a fully integrated manufacturer of vises, multiple clamping units and tombstones, followed by the acquisition of Mario Pinto, a manufacturer of special chucks for the vehicle industry. Now with subsidiaries and affiliates throughout Europe, North America, Asia and South America as well as the centralized manufacturing operations in Europe, SMWAutoblok has become a major supplier of workholding worldwide.

The acquisition of OML has given SMWAutoblok a new series of opportunities in the North American market. It has now begun supplying customers with tombstones and plates in both single piece and large order quantities. Since the company is the manufacturer for these products, it is able to control costs and offer competitive prices in the market. In addition, the selection of clamping elements allows it to design and build custom fixtures for many different industries. The company’s solid modeling software allows it to illustrate to a customer how its parts will look mounted on a tombstone, and analysis software allows the company to evaluate deflection and stress on both the fixtures and workpieces.

The CIVI 2000 is a great step forward in the evolution of multiple-piece clamping. It offers a serrated base for fast and accurate positioning of the moveable clamping jaws. The new base design allows for rapid changeover from one workpiece to another. The product is available to mount on a machine table for a vertical machining center or on a tombstone or a plate for either a vertical or horizontal machine. In addition, the bases are heavy and rigid to prevent distortion of the workholding under the most aggressive machining conditions.

The rigidity of the system allows it to be mounted on a cross tombstone for three-sided machining. It is also made in a four-sided design for mounting on a rotary table, which allows the same multiple piece clamping as with the standard base set. The CIVI 2000 is designed for multiple part clamping and high volume machining.

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