18 December, 2017

V-Lock makes the right connections (Feb 2014)

14 February, 2014

Metal Work is introducing the new V-Lock. At first glance it might look like one of the many catalogues of pneumatic components. However, the company states that it represents a change of paradigm in specific technology. It does not contain any factors that, on their own, could be classed as a sensational innovation, but altogether it is something previously unseen, according to Metal Work. Makers of assembly machinery have to select the individual components and design the unit where they will be housed and fixed together. Designers have a wide range of components (slides, grippers etc.) to choose from and need to undertake a great deal of personalisation. For example, they have to study the devices that are needed to join all the components together, and to fix them to the frame of the machine. Then they have to design and make all the adaptors, brackets, plates etc. These phases can take up a lot of time and money. Metal Work reports that VLock can connect 'everything to everything'; including grippers with slides, rotating actuators and guide units, together with every manufacturer's brand of aluminium profiled structures. Connecting with every spatial orientation Metal Work comments that the connections are straightforward, quick to tighten and accessible from all sides, and no adjustment plates are needed between one component and the next. The connection is also said to be extremely rigid, and the system is accurate and repeatable so that when a component is removed for maintenance purposes it can then be accurately put back in place. All the components in the V-Lock series have a swallow's tail that is 4 mm wide on the surfaces earmarked for the coupling, which runs along the entire length of the component. Transversally, there are precise grooves, 6H7 wide, with a 20 mm pitch. To connect two components together all the maker needs to do is put them side-by-side and tighten the M5 screws on the universal fitting, called K (given the shape of its profile, which is, precisely, a K). Catalogue The V-Lock catalogue – which is constantly being added to – includes precision slides, guide units coupled with ISO15552 and 6432 rollers, spindle-free rollers, rotary actuators and grippers. If positioning accuracy and repeatability is required, it is guaranteed in the transversal direction by the K fitting, whereas in the other direction a drilled key needs inserting into one of the 6H7 cavities. If, on the contrary, components need fixing together in a freely chosen longitudinal position, and not connected to the fixed 20 mm pitch between the cavities, then another fastening system must be used. This fastening system goes by the name of Quick-set; it does not allow for positioning accuracy or repeatability, but it does offer complete freedom when deciding on the fixing point. The V-Lock system is rounded off with forms and accessories so as to enable customers to freely position components in the space: square- or cross-shaped adaptors at 45deg and 90deg etc. The VLock world can be linked to all the worlds of structures that are made using extrusions, Bosch, Metra and Item section bars for example: just one universal adaptor which makes it possible to fix any V-Lock component to any aluminium section bar. Fixing to other objects And what if you want to fix a V-Lock component to other objects, e.g. a piece of sheet metal, a camera or anything that is not set up for an interface? This has also been accounted for: all the sides of the V-Lock components have a grid of M5 threaded holes, with a 20 x 20 mm pitch, as well as holes for plugs that are 5 mm in diameter. www.metalwork.co.uk





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