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Plain and simple: What is a centering vise?

Our "Wiki" column deals with terms and definitions relating to LANG Technik products and their areas of application. Today explained in a simple way: The centering vise. How can it be described, where is it used and what types of centering vises does LANG Technik offer in its product range.

What is a centering vise? 

The centering vise, also called self-centering vise (others may spell it centring vice or self-centering vice) is a machine vise used in cnc machining. Its task is to hold the workpiece to be machined securely during the machining process.

The centering vise gets its name from the fact that its two clamping jaws move together evenly towards the center of the vise. Contrary to the design of a vise with a fixed jaw, the workpiece is thus always fixed above the center of the vise. This means that the workpiece is equally accessible from both short sides of the centering vise.

The centering vise consists of the following components:

  • Base body
  • Threaded spindle
  • Clamping jaws
  • (locating pins / clamping studs / pull studs for zero point clamping)

The centering vise can either be mounted directly on the machine table of the CNC machine (for example by means of clamps) or it is mounted by means of a zero point clamping system. This offers the possibility of setting up and dismantling the centering vise with high precision in just a few moments.

Thanks to the optimized accessibility and its advantages in applications in 5-axis machining centers, the centering vise is becoming more and more popular nowadays and is now part of every modern machining process in CNC machines.

On the market today, users can find a wide variety of centering vises with manual, pneumatic, hydraulic and electromechanical actuation.

Centering vises for all clamping tasks

Attributes that are often associated with the LANG self-centering vises are: compact, handy and versatile. In addition, they impress with their compatibility with each other. The best-selling machine vice in LANG Technik's centering vise range is without question the 5-Axis Vise. For years, it has been considered the benchmark in 5-sided machining of blanks. In addition, customers can find the right centring vice for every component shape and machining step at LANG Technik.

Centering vise for raw part machining

At LANG Technik, customers can find the right centering vise for every part shape and machining stage.

The centering vise for blank machining is the 5-Axis Vise. With its features, it meets all the requirements of a machine vice in modern 5-axis machining - above all its unique combination of compactness and high holding forces. Like no other, it represents reliability and secure workpiece clamping, especially with extreme cutting forces and high chip removal volumes in milling operations.

The compact design of the Makro•Grip® 5-Axis Vise and its reversible jaws ensure maximum accessibility to the workpiece at all times. As a result, shorter tools can be used in multi-axis machining, which reduces vibrations and has a positive effect on both milled part quality and tool life.

When it comes to 5-axis machining, the holding forces of the centering vise are outstanding. The fact that only low clamping forces are required for this is due to the form-fit clamping technology. With its truncated pyramid-shaped serration, it holds pre-stamped workpiece blanks by form-fit.

As a result:

  • Indenting into the material
  • No wear on the serration / vise 
  • A defined, repeatable fit of the blank in the serration
  • A clamping quality that is always consistent

This enables distortion-free and gentle workpiece clamping, which ultimately benefits the component quality - completely independent of whether you are clamping softer or high-tensile materials up to 45 HRc.

Additional options offered by the 5-axis centering vise:

  • Center jaw in order to clamp multiple parts simultaneously in one vise
  • Plain clamping, if the indentation of the serration in the workpiece is not desired
  • Additional clamping possibilities without serration
  • Attachment of contour jaws by means of magnets, completely without tools or jaw changes
  • Clamping of parts inside out, e.g. in pocket holes
  • Retrofittable clamping jaws for clamping cylindrical blanks
Lang centering vise for raw part clamping
Maximum holding forces, ideal accessibility, workpiece clamped in an upright position - The Makro•Grip® 5-Axis Vise offers perfect conditions for finishing unmachined parts in a single clamping operation.

Centering vise for contour clamping

In addition to the 5-Axis Vise, the range of vises from LANG Technik also includes other centering vises. The centering vises for contour clamping offer impressive versatility and the ability to securely clamp virtually any component shape. Two of these self-centering vises use exchangeable top jaws for clamping the workpieces, but have different advantages:

  • Profilo: High flexibility due to in-house production of top jaws.
  • Avanti: Patented quick jaw change system, ideally suited for high vertical integration.

The base body of all centring vices is always identical in its design. This ensures that all clamping jaw types are fully compatible and can be swapped. The base bodies differ only in their body width and length, through which different clamping ranges can be realized.

Avanti centering vise for clamping pre-machined parts and contours.
The Avanti centering vise with its top jaws is a popular choice for contour clamping of any part shape.

Centering vise for large workpieces

With the Makro•Grip® Ultra clamping system, users benefit from a modular clamping technology solution that leaves nothing to be desired thanks to its diverse clamping jaw types and expansion options. Makro•Grip® Ultra can be set up flexibly and quickly. At the same time, the workholding system enables centric clamping for applications up to a clamping range of 810 mm. The clamping system with centering vise character solves the most challenging clamping tasks of flat material reliably.

Questions and answers

Which type of vise do I need for which CNC machining task?

For 5-axis machining, where good accessibility and high holding forces are required, the Makro•Grip® 5-Axis Vise is the right choice. For this purpose, there are also retrofittable clamping jaws with the Makro•4Grip category, which hold cylindrical blanks by form-fit. The Avanti and Profilo vise types with their soft top jaws are capable of clamping any shape - including round parts. For these, the Vasto•Clamp 6-jaw chuck and the Preci•Point collet chuck are also available to the operator. The Vario•Tec centering vise can be used to clamp (semi-) finished components with parallel surfaces.

How do I choose the right jaw width of the Makro•Grip® 5-Axis Vise?

The jaw width should be selected depending on the workpiece size and the desired accessibility to the workpiece. In general, the wider the jaws, the higher the holding force. As a rule of thumb for the maximum workpiece size, the following applies: maximum width = 3x jaw width, maximum height = 2x jaw width. Depending on the material and cutting forces, the maximum size can be significantly larger or somewhat smaller.

Can the Makro•Grip® vises also be used in automation?

Yes, the base bodies of selected Makro•Grip® vises are prepared so that they can be stored on an automation trolley and picked up directly by the Fanuc CNC-robot: Makro•Grip® 77 = base body length 130 mm / Makro•Grip® 125 = base body length 210 mm. Likewise, Avanti and Vario•Tec vises can be used in the same lengths.

For more questions and answers on this topic, see the following page:


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