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In metal working accuracy is everything, but that accuracy can't be achieved without a proper starting point. For example, it's near impossible to accurately drill, cut, or otherwise work a piece of metal that is loose and moving around. That's why you need a good clamping system.
There are many different types of clamping devices, each of which is suited to different use cases. A vacuum clamping system, for instance, is suited to working with flat materials for things like routing, or drilling. A hydraulic clamping system is ideal for complicated items, often machined metal, using a series of small rams to push or pull against the object as needed. A magnetic clamping system, as you may be able to guess, are exclusively for magnetic mediums, and have the advantage of holding an object without obstructing the side that is being worked.
Why Use A Mechanical Clamping Device?
It's true enough that a pneumatic clamping system would be overkill for a home workshop, but if your business involves a lot of metal working, the time saved with a decent clamp system would quickly amount to more than worth the cost. For large scale production, there is also the immensely useful CNC clamping system, which can be any of the above systems with the added bonus of being automatically controlled by a computer, allowing for automation. Clamping systems can also be set up for specific uses. For example, pipe clamping systems are especially common.
Clamping System Manufacturers
Being such an integral part of any significant manufacturing operation, clamp systems are made by a number of quality companies. Here are a few manufacturer names to look out for: ToolFast, Production Machining, Lifting Safety, Camlok, Doughty Engineering, Emuge Franken, Rohm, Steel-Smith, Berg Spanntechnik and Schmalz.