Icing plates for holding delicate parts

Icing plates for holding delicate parts

Icing plate holds delicate parts without inducing stress or distortion.
Icing plate holds delicate parts without inducing stress or distortion.

GF Series Icing Plates that use the power of ice to hold parts for milling, turning or grinding has been introduced by AMCC. The clamping system is said to be rigid, holds parts stress-free on a single face, is fast and easy to use and clamps all shapes and materials.

Icing plates are effective for machining a variety of materials including, sintered materials, unfired “green” ceramic, ferrite and graphite. Ice is an excellent adhesive that can grip any rigid or flexible material. On metals, ice has a tensile strength of 214 lb/sq-in., compared with 170 lb/sq-in. for magnets or14 lb/sq-in. for vacuum. Also, when it melts, It has the additional advantage of being reversible and leaving no residue.

The use of icing plates eliminates the chance of distortion and breakage due to clamping or unclamping. Whatever their shape, fragile parts are held firmly in place and without stress. Parts are held by only one face allowing machining access to five faces. With plastics, freezing increases its rigidity and thus improves surface condition.

Comparison of holding a sintered part with traditional clamping and with icing plates.
Comparison of holding a sintered part with traditional clamping and with icing plates.

Plate cooling is achieved by means of a patented compressed-air heat exchanger. On some models, the assembly is driven by a temperature-controlled pneumatic system. By using the thermal inertia of the icing plate, this control system also conserves compressed air.

Thanks to its compact, monoblock design, GF icing plates are quickly installed. Operators simply connect the apparatus to the compressed air system, spray water onto the icing plate, position the part to be machined and then activate the temperature-control button. Within seconds the water freezes and the part is clamped. Unclamping is done just as fast by reversing the freeze/thaw valve.

Also, Z-axis repeatability depends only on the surface holding the part because there is no water thickness under the part. Because the plate evacuates the heat generated by machining, standard lubrication is no longer necessary.

Originally designed to meet the demands of the space industry, AMCC’s icing plates have found applications in all industries that manufacture delicate parts including medical, electronics, watch-making and jewelry. The company has several models of GF series icing plates available, according to use, and can customize a system based on application requirements.

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