Vises Lead to Economical Machining
If you have experience in either machining or purchasing machined products, you are probably aware that a good chunk of that cost comes from set-ups and the time it takes to for a set-up. The price increases further when a project requires a dedicated fixture designed specifically for that part, but this is not always necessary. For a company such as CPM Industries, we must reduce costs where ever we can to keep prices competitive because we are a prototype to production manufacturer that works with smaller quantities.
A production supplier can justify the cost of dedicated fixtures because they will run thousands and thousands of parts through that fixture. Even though we do supply customers with production castings, not all casting projects require machining and we usually only take on projects requiring a couple thousand EAU (estimated annual usage). Rather than taking the time and money to produce a fixture dedicated to a part that will only see 500 or so castings, we use a vise to hold the casting whenever possible. I say whenever possible, because not all castings can be held in a vise for machining, sometimes the design simply will not allow it.
Using a vise will eliminate the need to produce a custom fixture, which will reduce time and material used, which will reduce costs. At CPM Industries, our vise see quite a bit of machine time with our Prototypes and even production parts. It is more cost effective to use a vise to machine a prototype when there are only 10 pieces to machine. Sometimes we even use a vise to hold a machine fixture, such as in the photo above. The red you see is a machine fixture produced from a polyurethane board which is then held by the vise. Producing a Hogout (machining a prototype from billet) also usually requires a vise, so our prototype production heavily relies on the use of a vise.
Something that I find ironic is that we sometimes use a vise to hold the material that we are producing a machine fixture from. So without a vise we may not even be able to produce the necessary machine fixture. So basically, using a vise in machining applications can save you time and money in a variety of ways when compared to a machine fixture (depending on the project and quantities).