What Effect Jigs and Fixtures in Precision Metal Fabrication

With the rapid advancement in manufacturing technology, consumerism has increased. Therefore, to meet the higher demands, manufacturers have developed innovative methods to produce high- quality products faster.

The production process has observed the introduction of inventive manufacturing concepts such as Lean Production System, Cellular Manufacturing, Single Minute Exchange of Dies, and Tact Time Analysis. These creative approaches require a horde of efficient, cheaper tools and work-holding devices.

The manufacturing company requires a simple work positioning strategy and devices for correct operations. This is to ensure:

  • Non-complexities in assembly and unit cost reduction
  • Reduction in the massive manufacturing cost
  • Increase their profitability

The industry has resorted to easing up the supply chain to maintain. This resulted in better and cost- effective work-holding devices that ensure better quality products, increase throughput, and reduce lead time. The requirement for the production of standard work-holding devices has paved the way for two specific terms named: Jigs and Fixtures.

What is a Jig?

A jig is similar to a template that is temporarily mounted to a workpiece and provides a guide for the work tools being used. For example, a jig might identify exactly where a hole needs to be drilled. Jigs are often used when there are multiple identical pieces because it helps ensure precise repeatability from one piece to the next.

A common type of jig is the drill jig, which guides the drill for making holes at desired locations. Using drill jigs increases the production rate drastically. These tools are usually made of metal, such as steel and aluminum, and are generally fitted with positioning devices called bushings. These tools guide the operation of machines and other equipment.

What is a Fixture?

The fixture also reduces the loading, unloading, and fixing the time of the workpiece, which significantly reduces the non-productive hours. Fixtures are used for milling, turning, and grinding operations. To ensure proper alignment and hold of parts, fixtures can include a variety of locating components. Some manufacturers are even turning to 3D printing for their fixtures.

Typical jigs and fixtures are made from Cast Iron or Aluminum, though steel versions are also available. These jigs and fixtures can be purchased or custom-built. They are mounted on T-Slot plates and hold a variety of work holding devices.

Advantages of Jigs and Fixtures

Jigs and Fixtures have made manufacturing processes less time-consuming, more precise, and hassle-free from a human factor perspective. The benefits of jigs and fixtures include but are not limited to the following:

  • Increase in production
  • The consistent quality of manufactured products due to low variability in dimension
  • Cost reduction
  • Inter-changeability and high accuracy of parts
  • Inspection and quality control expenses are significantly reduced
  • The decrease in an accident with improved safety standards
  • Due to relatively simple maneuverability, semi-skilled workers can operate these tools, reducing the workforce’s cost.
  • The machine tool can be automated to a reasonable extent
  • Complex, rigid and heavy components can be easily machined
  • Simple assembly operations reduce non-productive hours
  • Eliminates the need for measuring, punching, positioning, alignments, and setting up for each workpiece, thereby reducing the cycle and setting up a time
  • Increases technological capacities of machine tools
  • More than one device can be used simultaneously on a workpiece
  • Setting higher values of some operating conditions like depth of cut, speed, and rate of feed can be attained because of the increased clamping capability of jigs and fixtures.
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