Primary Considerations for 5 Axis Workholding

Lean your Machine - Multi Axis Top Tooling

Clearance and rigidity are the primary considerations when choosing the best vises and fixtures for 5-axis machining.  There must be adequate clearance for the cutting tool and part in their position to the table, providing sufficient space for the Y-axis, the fixture height and size of the part.
The goal when switching from a 3-axis machine to 5-axis is to reduce handling, tooling changes and cycle time.  It is all about a single set-up, or Done-in-One.  Because there is less handling in 5-axis machining the chance of error is minimized, providing more consistent quality parts.

5-axis is often thought to be overkill for many shops that depend on 3-axis machines.  Yet, there are many operations where 5-axis is found to be more efficient for jobs where 3-axis is the norm.  The increase of accuracy and labor savings from reduced handling can outweigh the cost differential and provide a significant ROI.  As long as all components; fixture, vise, part and cutting tool are firmly set in place with enough clearance, 5-axis machining is by far the most accurate and efficient.
With the right multi-axis quick change system up to 90% of set up time can be saved by implementing a quick change fixturing system for a fraction of the cost of the cutting tool investment.  The Jergens Fixture-Pro® Multi-Axis Quick Change Fixturing workholding system gets the spindle and cutting tool close to the work piece in the optimal machining position.  This can be achieved regardless of the machine or workpiece.  Fixture-Pro’s modular approach provides a combination of subplates, risers and top tooling that is right for any set up.
One manufacturer virtually eliminated set-up time, from three hours to just minutes.  The operation realized a cost savings of tens of thousands of dollars and additional machine capacity of 750 hours annually.
To learn more about Jergens’ Workholding Solutions and see us in action, visit Booth W-2154 at IMTS 2016.
Haas VF4 SS
General News, Uncategorized, Workholding

Jergens FastForward™ Machining Center Opens

FastForward™ Concept Takes Shape As A New Machining Center At Jergens Inc.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 – Jergens Inc. of Cleveland, OH opens the doors to their new machining efficiency technology center called FastForward™ to describe their objective, vision and pace for industry. The regional center will focus on the Maker/Manufacturing movement and its significance to the nation’s economy.

“With this dedicated space, we are further stepping up our efforts to promote training and education across the board including customers, suppliers, partners, students and the community that serves Manufacturing”, says Jack Schron, president of Jergens. “We are looking to expand the knowledge base for the vocational workforce and those pursuing a career in manufacturing, and to encourage creativity to Think, Make and Grow”, Schron continues.

HAAS Automation, the largest machine tool company in the United States, is partnering with Jergens by providing their newest VF4 SS Vertical Machining Center and the process technology that goes with it. In addition, Parlec, an industry-leader in toolholding and measuring equipment is providing their solutions. Add to that Jergens Quick-Change Fixturing and Clamping solutions, and FastForward boasts some of the most sophisticated manufacturing technology available today for demonstration and education. The center will regularly host events such as seminars, classes, think tanks and more.

For more information on FastForward, contact Jergens at 15700 S. Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110-3898. Phone: 877-486-1454; Fax: 216-481-6193; e-mail: info@jergensinc.com; or visit on the web at www.jergensinc.com. Founded in 1942, Jergens, Inc. is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company committed to helping its customers achieve leaner, more profitable manufacturing, and continues to add products and engineered solutions for an integrated approach to "Manufacturing Efficiency".

Jack Schron Jr introduces the new tech space
Jack Schron Jr introduces the new tech space

Caption: Jergens new FastForward™ Machining Efficiency Center uses the latest machining and quick-change workholding technology to focus on process improvement and workforce development




Quick Change Fixturing: The Link to Manufacturing Efficiency

I. Efficiency of a Well Designed Quick-Change Workholding System

A well designed workholding system holds the part in a fixed position to allow for precise fabricating within a specified tolerance.  Workholding is comprised of two primary components:

  • The actual workholding tool, such as a vise to hold the piece in place.
  • A device to firmly attach the workholding tool to the machine. This can include the use of fixture plates, universal T-Slot bolts, clamps and other devices which can firmly position and hold the part into place.

Today there are more quick change technologies available than ever before for multi-axis, horizontal and vertical machining centers.

Highly engineered quick-change workholding systems allow for significantly more machining time out of every shift.  There are systems that offer dramatic improvements and savings under the spindle when compared to traditional workholding methods.

Manual Systems

Some manual mounting systems can shave up to 75% from your set up times by implementing a quick change fixturing system for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, such as; clamps, T-Slot bolts, strap clamps, locating pins and more.  A manual quick change system can also be enhanced with either pneumatic or hydraulic release for faster part change over.

Some provide repeatability of up to +/-0.0005" (+/-0.013mm) or better, all allowing for increased uptime and much higher accuracy.

By using Ball Locking shanks with receivers, Quick Locating System fixture plates and subplates, the operator can quickly and accurately locate and hold down fixtures to the machine table in minutes.  These specialty ball locking shanks incorporate internal ball bearings.  As the hex key is tightened the shank locking mechanism moves the spring-loaded ball assemblies outward, locking them into place.  They can have holding forces ranging from 625 lbs. for a 1/2″ (13mm) shank to 15,200 lbs. for a 2″ (50mm) shank.

To mount the system receiver bushings are preinstalled into the subplate or fixture plate, and then a vise can be easily mounted without the need for indicating.  Simply install the shanks into the jigsaw base of the vise and tighten them down with a hex key.  Then load the parts into the machine and it’s ready to go.

This method is far more efficient than setting up with a traditional vise, which is time consuming and labor intensive.  Using the right quick change system can allow your spindle to be cutting, not waiting to cut.  In addition, some of these set-ups can hold two parts at once, eliminating the need for an extra set-up, while doubling the production.

See Quick Change system in action

Automated Systems

There is revolutionary technology available that allows for fixing, positioning and clamping in a single operation.  The most efficient is a Zero Point Clamping System which allows the operator to fix, position and clamp in a single step.  Zero Point Systems can cut set up times by up to 90%.  They are available with either pneumatic or hydraulic release.  The positive locking locating modules allow operators to quickly change out large and small fixtures with extreme accuracy and minimal effort.

Extremely accurate automated mounting systems permit accuracy, speed and repeatability of up to <0.0002” (0.005mm).

The features of Zero Point Systems include pull studs that can be installed directly into the workpiece, which is ideal for large or heavy parts.  They can have corrosion-resistant construction suited for use in food service, pharmaceutical and chemical applications.  Plus, their variable dimensions allow for optimal use of traverse displacement.

Zero Point Systems can be ideal for a variety of mountings.  Their features include Installation Mounts which are manufactured to match specific machine table requirements, Surface Mounts that are designed for table surface installation and Flange Mounts that have internal or external line options, making it easy to adapt to existing columns or plates with low installation depth.

To recap, many automated system benefits include:

  • High Accuracy – .0002” Repeatability
  • Speed – Air or Hydraulic Release
  • Automation – Release can be controlled by the program
  • Flexible Positioning of Receiver Module for Large and Odd Shape
  • Easy Locating Self Centering Stud
  • Application Opportunities Beyond Machining


II. The Benefits of Quick Change Fixturing

A fully optimized workholding operation provides versatility in machine automation and robotics applications.  It will:

  • Reduce the number of set-ups required
  • Maximize machine capabilities
  • Allow for complete utilization of the machine table envelope
  • Reduce changeover time
  • Minimize spindle down-time
  • Free-up additional capacity
  • Increase overall output, productivity and profitability


Any of these systems can be custom made to the specific needs of the application.  When selecting a manufacturer of a custom workholding system it is important to consider those companies with broad product design and build capabilities.

III.       Conclusion:  Cost Savings Associated With Quick Change Fixturing

The cost savings associated with quick change fixturing can be substantial.  It is not unusual to eliminate two hours of set-up time per shift, which in an average shop can provide approximately $50k in annual overhead cost savings at typical shop burden rates.  Perhaps more importantly, the two hour savings can provide an additional 500 machine hours/shift per year in available machine time.

In the case of one company, the average set-up time was virtually eliminated over their prior process, by:

  • Reducing average set-up from 3 hours to a few minutes
  • Saving approximately $68,000 in overhead cost
  • Gaining an additional 750 machine hours

Quick change fixturing can play a significant role with highly increased efficiencies in manufacturing production.  It is all about saving time and money by changing what is under the spindle, not on it.  When selecting the right workholding partner with the broadest line, operators of CNC and other automated machining can realize efficiencies, cost reductions and increased machine time that will set them ahead of the competition.  Securing jobs for more prototyping is a great opportunity for growth in machine shops.  Yet, for major manufacturers the benefits of quick change fixturing can provide tremendous opportunities to gain market share.

Case Studies







Learn More



The Significance of Workholding

How Workholding Increases Output

Horizontal Machining Center with Jergens Vise Column using Ball Lock Mounting system
Horizontal Machining Center with Jergens Vise Column using Ball Lock Mounting system

When machining a part, workholding is a term used to describe holding the part in a fixed position to allow for precise fabricating within a specified tolerance. Workholding is comprised of two primary components:

1) The actual workholding tool, such as a vise to hold the piece in place.
2) Positioning and firmly attaching the workholding tool to the machine. This can include the use of fixture plates, universal T-Slots, 4 or 5 axis components and many other devices which can firmly position the part.

The second method of workholding includes the creation of a manufacturing cell where the placement of the part is secured to quick-change pallets in order to easily switch workpieces during the machining process. This allows the operator to automatically or manually switch the workpiece position or replace it for performing a subsequent operation, all without interrupting the work in process (i.e. machining parts on other pallets).

The pallets holding the workpiece allow for high repeatability. The self-seating of these pallets allows them to be placed into the exact same location each time. This significantly reduces setup times, from what otherwise would take hours, down to just a few minutes. The addition of a trunnion table can serve as a fourth axis to allow for additional machining without additional set-up, and if necessary it can provide the opportunity to add more components to be machined by simply loading additional pallets concurrently.

Having a workholding system increases productivity and throughput which generates more production uptime and greatly reduced set up and changeover times. In addition, it allows the operator to make changes to the job quickly, ultimately increasing production output. And changing workpieces in a highly repeatable manner significantly increases the quality of the finished part. All of this is accomplished without interrupting production. Often, too much time is spent mounting a single workpiece in a machine. The primary function in streamlining production is to develop a workholding solution that optimizes the machining of multiple parts at once while maintaining tight tolerances.

Workholding Benefits

• High repeatability
• Increased spindle uptime
• Quick-change setups; from hours to minutes
• An increase in the number of parts per shift
• Measurable increase in accuracy and quality

Selecting the Right Workholding Solution
Whether for a small prototype shop or a large production facility, the selection of the best workholding solution is critical to any operation. A system that is proven to increase productivity and throughput by decreasing set up times and changeovers will result in more machine uptime, as long as the components are as rugged and versatile as the OEM machine itself.
Often, the versatility is more a function of a workholding solution, then the machining equipment. The objective is to have a solution that provides a significant, measurable and fast return on investment (ROI): To affect the ROI, the workholding solution must:

• Dramatically increase productivity and throughput
• Speed set ups and changeovers
• Show an increase in machine uptime

Though there are many standard workholding components available, many applications call for customized solutions that provide extreme accuracy and high repeatability. A common challenge in many of these applications is accommodating vertical milling along with multiple-axis machining. For instance, applications that benefit from five-axis machining where the cutting tool can access the workpiece from multiple sides and angles must have adequate space to accommodate all components.

Some of these customized solutions are not only extremely versatile, but are also comparatively affordable and easily programmed. It is important to select a company that specializes in the development of workholding solutions for complex geometry and can develop a cell which fixtures the parts on quick-change pallets so the workpiece can be placed at the same location of the cell at every operation. Some workholding companies design 5-axis machining that achieves up to 0.0002” repeatability and unrestricted access to the part, allowing for part-to-part changeover in less than one minute.

The Benefits of 5-Axis vs. 3-Axis Machining

When all or most sides of a part require machining, it is most efficient to utilize multi-axis workholding. However the jaws, other vise components and the machine table itself can restrict access to all sides of the part. In traditional multi-axis cutting the machine must be stopped and the part needs to be repositioned to machine the next surface. Even 3 simultaneous machining axis on a rotary table can limit, or at the very least, slow the machining process. However a well-designed, highly repeatable, 5-axis machining center allows for fast and repeatable manufacturing of even the most complex parts.

Modern multi-axis machining can be described as:

• 3 Axis: Vertical milling machine with CNC computer controls moves three axis: X right to left, Y front to back and Z up and down, controlling movement for the cutting tool
• 3 + 2 Axis: Three plus two machining uses a vertical machining center with a tilting rotary table producing complex parts like a full 5 axis machine tool, but the last two axis are for positional not simultaneous movement
• 5 Axis: A full 5 axis machine tool is able to move all axis’s simultaneously allowing fewer setups and faster machining times

The benefits of 5 Axis Machining Include:

• Reduced number of fixtures & set ups
• Reduced number of operations with 5 sides being machined simultaneously
• Part remains in single clamped position, reducing the potential for error
• Simplifies the machining of complex shapes
• Reduces the total programming required
• Improved part quality due to increased repeatability

The advantages of combining multi-axis and 5-axis machining capability:

• Placing the part into the optimal machining position
• Standard modular components
• A rapid quick change system
• Configure the machining center based on specific need
• Non machine specific (except subplates)
• Easily transfer components to different machines
• Reset for machining of other parts

Conclusion: The Cost Savings of Workholding – Maximizing ROI

Some companies provide clearly defined on-line calculators to show the return on investment for a customer’s workholding solution. Using these calculators graphically represents the savings to the shop or multi-station factory, right down to savings that can be passed along to the end customer. Dollars saved are reflected in:

• Reduced Set-Up Time
• Reduced Tool Change Time
• Calculates Recovered Machine Time
• Calculates ROI on Cost of Tooling Required

To receive more information on Workholding Solutions for manufacturing applications, click below






CNC Cookbook
Production Machining 1
Production Machining 2
Modern Machine Shop

For more information on best in practice workholding solutions, visit Jergens Workholding.

General News, Quality Certifications


Cleveland, OH – January 9, 2013 – Jergens, Inc. is proud to announce that the company has passed its Quality Suppliers List for Manufacturers (QSLM) audit which was conducted on January 9, 2013. The purpose of the audit was to maintain the company’s approval as a supplier of Quick-Release Pins to the US Department of Defense. The criteria for passing the audit is similar to ISO9001:2008 standards, with more emphasis on certification and traceability to raw material physical and chemical properties..

By passing this important and comprehensive audit, Jergens, Inc., continues to operate as an approved supplier of Quick-Release Pins for use by the United States Dept. of Defense and all other federal entities which utilize these unique locking pins.

Jergens Kwik-Lok®, Quick-Release Pins were designed provide fast, easy, positive engagement and high holding strength for applications requiring frequent, repetitive use. Simple, smooth operation makes Jergens Kwik-Lok® Pins an ideal replacement for detent, clevis and cotter pins. Beyond military uses, other Kwik-Lok® applications include general industrial/manufacturing, aviation and medical, recreational and marine equipment.

The 17-4 PH-grade stainless steel construction of Jergens Kwik-Lok®, Quick-Release Pins permit installation in corrosive, wet and other harsh or caustic operating environments. Other available materials and finishes include heat-treated alloy steel and cadmium-plating.

Jergens Kwik-Lok®, Quick-Release Pin features & benefits include among others…

  • Rugged, durable construction ideal for extreme environments
  • Firm, even grip for smooth operation
  • Includes hole and ring for easy attachment of optional lanyard
  • Vibration-resistant
  • High impact resistance
  • Quick insertion and removal
  • Double-acting pins activated by push or pull motion
  • Multiple handle styles for a wide range of applications

Jergens Kwik-Lok®, Quick-Release Pins are produced under the following manufacturing standards:

  • NAS Number NASM 1334 – NASM 1348 is also available.
  • MS / NASM Numbers 17984-90
  • Special Military and Aerospace size and configurations are available.

For more Jergens Kwik-Lok®, Quick-Release Pins information visit www.jergensinc.com/site/showcase_KLP or contact the company at Jergens, Inc. at 15700 S. Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110-3898. Phone: 877-486-1454; Fax: 216-481-6193.

E-mail: info@jergensinc.com

General News

Ball Lock® Quick-Change System Now Available in Stainless Steel

Now available in high grade 17-4 stainless steel, Jergens popular Ball Lock® Quick-Change Mounting & Fixturing System can now be expected to provide a long service life when installed in the most extreme operating environments.

Jergens Ball Lock® Quick-Change Mounting and Fixturing System is the first of any fixturing system to be produced in high grade stainless steel. This move was driven by customers wanting to extend the benefits of Ball Lock® quick change and precision locking technology within corrosive, wet, caustic and similarly harsh manufacturing environments.

This development also enables the Ball Lock® Quick-Change Mounting & Fixturing System of stainless steel shanks, face or back-mount receiver bushings and liners, to also be used in NSF-regulated, medical-grade, and other purity-stringent manufacturing environments.

Ball Lock's popularity among both fixture builders and machine tool operators, stems from its ability to quickly and accurately locate fixtures onto machine tables. The ability to lock and unlock Ball Lock's shanks in seconds, permits the exchange of fixtures in less than a minute, with a position repeatability and accuracy of +/-0.0005" (+/-0.013mm) or better.

The Ball Lock® System utilizes a patented locking technology to securely hold fixture plates to subplates with up to 20,000 lbs. (9000 kg.) of hold-down force per shank. Fixtures can also be quickly exchanged between different machines when both are using the Jergens Ball Lock® Mounting System.

The Ball Lock® system can be configured to create lean-optimized solutions for the most demanding appliciation needs. The benefits of using the Ball Lock® system include:

  • Incredibly FAST setups and changeover
  • Powerfully strong holding forces
  • Combines locking and locating in the same motion
  • Eliminates the need for indicating on CNC machines

A complete range of stainless steel Ball Lock® accessories are also available including T-Slot nuts, tapered caps & nuts, lifting handles, Sine fixture keys, fast-acting Ball Lock® keys, pre-machined T-columns and 4-sided tooling columns, and Ball Lock® vises.

General News


Cleveland, OH – August 23, 2012 – Jergens, Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lifting, workholding, and fastening solutions, will conduct a session entitled “Set Up Time vs. Cycle Time: The Profitable Benefits of Implementing Quick Change Fixturing” at the IMTS 2012 Conference in Chicago. The session (IMTS06) will be held on Monday, September 10, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:55 pm in room W195.

In the never-ending quest to increase margins and profitability, cost-saving measures traditionally focus on reducing cycle times, often without taking into account the considerable cost-saving benefits of reducing set up times. Jergens’ interactive presentation at the IMTS 2012 Conference will demonstrate the benefits of implementing a quick change fixturing system in 5-axis, horizontal and vertical machining centers, and 4th axis indexers and rotary tables.

The presentation will use a variety of field application examples, videos and comparative analyses to educate attendees on how reducing set up time can have a significant impact on profitability as compared to reducing cycle time. The presentation will also highlight how advances in quick change fixturing options and methodologies can help attendees:

  • Limit the number of set-ups required
  • Reduce tool change time
  • Minimize spindle down time
  • Free up additional capacity
  • Implement lean cells
  • Profitably take on smaller runs

To document the cost-saving benefits of quick change fixturing in real terms, attendees will be presented with methods for calculating direct savings from set up time reduction, savings achieved from reduced tool change time and calculation of recovered machine hours, as well as ROI for a typical installation.

To register for the session, visit www.imts.com or www.jergensinc.com. Visit Jergens at IMTS booth W-2312 to learn more about quick change fixturing trends and cutting edge systems.

General News


Cleveland, OH – June 21, 2010 –Jergens, Inc. will showcase its line of quick change fixturing solutions in booth W-2312 at the 2010 IMTS show being held at Chicago’s McCormick Place September 13 – 18.

Jergens will hold demonstrations of its three premier quick change fixturing solutions, including the Bock Brand Quick Change System, the Ball Lock™ Mounting System, and the Zero Point System (ZPS). Each system is designed to dramatically increase productivity and throughput by speeding up set ups and changeovers, resulting in more machine uptime.

The Bock Brand Quick Change System is an ideal solution for establishing flexible and productive machining cells with accurate repeatability to within +/- .001” (0.0254mm). The foundation of the Bock system is the alpha-numeric locator plate, upon which Twin Vises and Mono Quads can be mounted with patented Dexloc™ Double Expanding Locator Pins.

The Ball Lock™ Mounting System is the most widely used quick change fixturing system on the market. Designed to speed the accurate locating and locking of vises and fixtures to subplates, Ball Lock™ accurately positions your fixtures with a repeatability of +/- 0.0005” (+0.013mm), minimizing the need to indicate your fixture. Fixtures can often be changed in less than a minute, and can be exchanged between different machines when both are using the Jergens Ball Lock™ Mounting System.

For applications where quick changeover and precision locating are critical, Jergens’ Zero Point System (ZPS) can cut set up times by up to 90% with repeatability within +/- 0.0002” (0.005mm). This revolutionary technology allows you to fix, position and clamp in a single step and is an ideal solution for a wide range of applications, including those where corrosion-resistance is needed. Available with either pneumatic or hydraulic release, these positive locking locating modules allow operators to quickly change out large and small fixtures with extreme accuracy and minimal effort.

In addition to hands-on demonstrations of all three quick change fixturing systems, Jergens Workholding Solutions Group will also debut its new Ball Lock™ Wizard. This unique web-enabled program empowers Jergens customers to configure and price a Ball Lock™ System to meet their specific application requirements. Intuitive and feature-rich, the Ball Lock™ Wizard guides users every step of the way, providing real-time product visualization, CAD drawings and cost estimates. The Ball Lock™ Wizard will be available for demonstration at IMTS 2010 in Jergens’ Interactive Café, booth W-2312.

Quality Certifications


Cleveland, OH – April 22, 2010 –Jergens, Inc. announced today that both its TCD and ASG divisions were recertified to ISO 9001:2008, reinforcing the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest possible quality standards. Jergens’ TCD Division designs and manufactures tooling and workholding products, specialty fasteners, and lifting products, while the ASG Division distributes and services tools used in light assembly. 

Maintained by the International Organization for Standardization, the internationally accepted ISO 9000 series of standards were written to provide a consistent basis for establishing product and service quality requirements and to provide guidelines that govern quality management systems. The new 2008 standard provides clarification of existing standards, and requires more rigorous control of outsourced processes, quality system documentation, infrastructure oversight and management.

The successful recertification at Jergens was the result of a coordinated effort among all employees to continually improve its quality management system and provide exceptional customer service. “Jergens has a history of exceeding product and service quality requirements, and our company-wide dedication to continuous improvement is an ongoing goal,” says Sean Stapulionis, General Manager. “We’re proud that AQA International has approved us for this prestigious certification.”