Becoming an FPC Believer

Mar 3, 2021 1:28:59 PM / by Dan Doiron

Perhaps you’re on the fence over shrink fit vs. hydraulic toolholders. Or maybe your shop still uses Weldon side-lock holders and wonders why tool life is less than spectacular, or struggles with pull-out no matter how hard you tighten that collet chuck. You’re not alone. Many shops are using the same toolholder technology they started out with decades ago and are reluctant to invest in something new, or are confused over which direction they should go.



Choices, choices

Given all the tool holding options available today, it’s a valid concern. Many of the systems out there are quite good and provide performance well beyond that of yesterday’s toolholders, but require significant investment to implement. And yet, can any shop afford not to utilize the very best tooling available if they wish to compete in today’s dog-eat-dog business climate? At EMUGE, we don't think so, which is why we suggest taking a hard look at the ultimate in precision tool holding, the FPC milling and drilling chuck.

I know, everyone says their stuff is the best. It seems the only way to determine the truth is to ask everyone to accept the Pepsi challenge and take some test cuts. That’s no problem from our side, because we already did just that. Compared to a leading brand of hydraulic chuck, EMUGE’s FPC increased tool life by 25% when using identical materials, cutting speeds, and feed rates. The results were even greater against a Weldon-style holder, where the FPC enjoyed a 33% improvement in tool life, and 43% higher vs. shrink-fit.

To be honest, I was a bit surprised at this last one—shrink fit has become the darling of many machine shops over recent years, but the numbers speak for themselves.


Beyond the Pepsi Challenge

Tests under controlled conditions like this are great, but what about the real world? How does the FPC perform on a tired CNC machining center, or where the work holding is a bit less rigid than one could hope. What then? I can offer one recent example. While making a courtesy visit to a machine shop near me, I was hopeful that the owner—let’s call him Robert—would consider switching to EMUGE end mills.

Instead, Robert explained to me that he was experiencing less than stellar tool life on a long-running job. He suspected that it was the sidelock toolholder he was using but was too busy to investigate the root cause. I loaned him one of my demo FPC chucks and told him to call me once he had a chance to test it.

The results were impressive. Changing nothing but the toolholder, Robert immediately increased tool life from a maximum of 60 pieces per 3/8" diameter end mill to more than 400, a seven-fold increase. That was great news, but in one sense, it was unfortunate—I was there to promote our new line of end mills. Regardless, I consider it a win: not only did EMUGE help a customer in need, but Robert’s now buying fewer end mills from our competitor. That, and he’s become an FPC believer.


Three times better

So what’s different about the FPC? I’ll spare you all the technical details except to say that it’s a mechanical chuck that provides three tons of clamping force, pullout protection via a pin-lock mechanism, and superior vibration dampening due to its cone-shaped collet assembly.

And as Robert can attest, it generates far less runout than a typical Weldon-style end mill holder—where he was measuring several thou’ at 3xD, the FPC promises concentricity of just three microns (0.0001") or better at that distance.

Here again, words are cheap. We can’t promise results like this on all applications, but I’m willing to bet we can come close. Call, chat or drop us an email. We’ll make some chips.

Download the new High Precision FPC Milling/ Drilling Chuck Brochure here. 


Tags: Tool Holders

Dan Doiron

Written by Dan Doiron

Dan Doiron is the Milling Product Manager at EMUGE Corp., in West Boylston, MA.