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Manufacturing of “Special” Workholding Fixtures … Requires a “Special” Workholding Team

When a customer request is received for a “special” workholding fixture –  “special” meaning a fixture for a particular part or family of similar parts – Royal Machine & Tool personnel take on a concentrated, unique teamwork attitude.


From the onset of the request, workholding specialists in Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing and Quality Control begin working closely together to ensure
that our customer’s requirements are met.


The initial communication between Royal Machine and our customer is vital to the success of the entire project.

This is when we ask our customer to supply sample parts, part prints, machine tool information and the tooling package to be used to manufacture the parts in their facility. In addition, Royal Machine and our customer can communicate any concerns either company may have regarding the project. For instance, concerns may be schedule or budget constraints, manufacturing difficulties our customer may have previously had…or difficulties they feel they may run into if this is a new part for their company.


At this point in the process, specific questions need be answered.


How many parts can fit in the machine tool’s envelope? Does the machine have a pallet system? How to make the project ergonomically safe? Now we can determine whether to use a sophisticated hydraulic fixture or a manually operated fixture. Hydraulic Fixtures normally are used with higher volumes of parts and when shorter cycle times and fast load/unload times are required. Manually Operated Fixtures normally are used with lower volumes and longer cycle times.


A concept design is then presented to the project team for review. If necessary, any changes are made to facilitate manufacturing and assembling of the fixture. Careful consideration of our customer’s needs is of our utmost consideration and importance. The design approval prints are then sent to our customer for review and approval.


When our customer has agreed to the design concept, final drawings are produced and a meeting is called with Process Engineering, Manufacturing, Quality Control and Assembly Technicians. Any further changes to facilitate manufacturing are made and our engineering specialists make a final review of the drawings…and then release them for manufacturing.


Production Control now plays an important role from ordering of material to preparing of schedule charts.

Depending on the complexity of the fixture design, Process Engineers now begin to process…from a few details to as many as several hundred. In turn, all of these details need to be juggled throughout various manufacturing and inspection operations. The end result being that all the components must arrive at the proper time for final fit.


Usually, after several weeks of manufacturing and many hours of careful planning, the new special workholding fixture has reached final assembly
as the project nears its completion. Assembly Technicians, Project Engineers
and Quality Control Specialists assemble, test, and measure all of the critical aspects of the specially designed fixture to insure its integrity and workmanship. Sample parts are loaded/unloaded, checked for repeatability and proper grip.  The final step in the process is to check tool clearances against the tooling package provided by our customer. Once this has been completed, the project is ready for final review.


Royal Machine & Tool’s project team then invites its customer to its modern Berlin, CT facilities for a complete review of their newly completed fixture. Once our customer is completely satisfied and final approval is given, Royal Machine then ships the custom-built, American-made fixture.

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