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Hardinge offers unrivalled bespoke collet capability

Hardinge offers unrivalled bespoke collet capability

Added to MTDCNC by Shop ETG on 02 October 2012

Hardinge is the world’s largest manufacturer of spindle tooling and also offers an un-rivalled specials service with a team in their Elmira, USA headquarters combing unrivalled expertise with vast application knowledge.

“The chances are that every day we pick up or use something that has been manufactured making use of a Hardinge collet. Hardinge workholding products grip parts that touch lives around the world, at home, at work, or on the road and involving almost every industry imaginable.”

That’s the claim of Hardinge Inc. Director of Sales for workholding Mike Levanduski - a statement he makes with some authority as he has worked at Hardinge for over 35 years. 

Experience runs deep at Hardinge but even Mike Levanduski’s length of service and knowledge takes second place to Dave Myers who is the chief designer of the collet division.  Myers could easily qualify as ‘a collet legend in his lifetime’ being renowned for his photographic memory and recall of the designs and features of special and bespoke collets he and the team have designed during his lengthy Hardinge career.

In Elmira, Myers and his team comprise a talented group of 15 workholding engineers with over 300 years of combined engineering experience. And Myers estimates they have designed and manufactured over 200,000 special collets and mandrels - that on top of some 40,000 products in the ‘standard’ Hardinge catalogue.“

'There isn’t a machine shop worldwide that can say they’ve never had a problem gripping a part,” adds Mike Levanduski.  “It’s an odd shape, it’s slipping, it’s too delicate, it’s getting scratched, there is not enough gripping surface or it’s threaded.

The list goes on and on.

“Hardinge and its engineers hold several active patents for new and improved workholding products - special or otherwise - which are multi-purpose and can be manufactured for any machine tool and workholding problem. No job is too small or too big, whether you’re just starting up a sub contracting shop or a senior engineer from Boeing - it’s all the same to us.”

Big role ...

Specials play a big role in the Hardinge offer and remarkably most of the global inquiries for specials end up not only being designed in Elmira but also manufactured there too.  150,000 square feet of production facility (running three shifts) is dedicated to custom manufacturing.

“A customer may think he has an unusual gripping problem, but chances are we’ve already designed a solution for it,” explains Mike Levanduski.

“It may be as simple as modifying a standard product but many customers have told us that they assumed that custom workholding products would be too expensive, or thought that they could make something in-house to solve their gripping problem.”

Local expertise

This knowledge is reflected at country level as well.  In Leicester, home of the Hardinge UK operations, Rob Beckett is the dedicated workholding manager.

“We’re very hands on,” Rob explains.  “Having the machine tool is one thing, but getting the very best performance from it is quite another.  That’s where we come in, as we did, for example, at Lister.”

The Gloucestershire town of Dursley might be a far cry from the machine shops and heat treatment plant in Elmira, New York State but Lister Shearing Equipment Ltd’s requirement for special expanding mandrels was satisfied via this route.

Lister is the world’s oldest and the UK’s only manufacturer of animal shearing and clipping equipment with the majority of the machined and mechanical components manufactured in Dursley.

As Production Engineer Jon Cole explains, “we have a global reputation for manufacturing shearing tools for the professional user and they rightly expect a high quality, high precision product that will give a reliable, extended life.  Being a hand held tool, a shear must only generate minimal vibration and component manufacture is therefore to the very highest precision.  Working with Hardinge we have created a number of fixtures that incorporate special collets and expanding mandrels that have all originated in Elmira.

“Being a non standard size our requirement could not be satisfied from the standards catalogue so Hardinge have manufactured a fixture for us that ensures high concentricity of a hard turned bearing seat.” 

“In essence we consulted with Hardinge, provided drawings that were sent to Elmira and assessed. They made some further recommendations and we then had the completed fixture manufactured stateside and returned to us for fitting to our CNC lathe. Very straight forward.”
So, from a ‘subby’ shop to a corporate giant, when it comes to special collets, Hardinge offers a genuine single source of supply.

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