ThinKing September 2021: Intelligent CFRP chuck: Light tension with plenty of sensitivity



Exciting, dynamic and light, yet very sensitive - what could have been a film tip for a balmy summer evening, just as accurately describes what is at the heart of the ThinKing's innovation in September. The intelligent lightweight TOROK-CFRP-IQ chuck from HAINBUCH GmbH, in Marbach am Neckar, perfectly utilises lightweight technologies.

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It complements the benefits of weight reduction with sophisticated sensor technology, thereby optimising its customers' production and simultaneously preparing them for digitalisation.

The Baden-Württemberg State Agency for Lightweight Design will be presenting this innovation with their ThinKing in September 2021. With this label, Leichtbau BW GmbH provides a monthly platform for innovative lightweight construction products or services from Baden-Württemberg.

At a glance:

  • Improved productivity: Thanks to the lightweight construction, faster workpiece acceleration and deceleration is enabled, thereby reducing machining cycles.
  • Increased energy efficiency: The lightweight construction requires less energy for acceleration.
  • Simplified handling: The chucks are lighter, thus simplifying handling.
  • Optimised component quality: The rejection rate is reduced, thanks to the integrated chuck's "sensitive" sensor technology and the damping properties of the fibre composite plastics.
  • Longer service life: Because of the light chuck and the damping properties, spindle bearings and drives are subjected to less stress – meaning machine wear is reduced.
  • Minimised unit costs: All of the mentioned features reduce unit costs, either directly or indirectly.

Sometimes you simply have to be tenacious: "We started developing the lightweight chuck about ten years ago. Ever since, we have constantly continued developing and optimising it," Attilio Mandarello, R&D Team Leader at HAINBUCH GmbH, explains.

Even if the development potential has not been fully exhausted yet, with the TOROK-CFRP-IQ chuck and its lightweight construction, the company already has a product in its portfolio that offers significant added value to its users, which is why it will be awarded the ThinKing in September.

The CFRP chuck weighs 70 per cent less than a comparable steel version and is equipped with integrated sensors. Together, these features offer a whole bundle of production-related benefits. Ultimately, these all have the effect of reducing unit costs.

High dynamics with less energy consumption

The lightweight CFRP chuck is a hybrid construction consisting of aluminium, carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and steel. The high vertical production range is important for the quality: "All CFRP components used in our chucks are sourced from our own production, from our CFRP manufacture," Attilo Mandarello says.

The lightweight chuck is somewhat more expensive than a standard chuck. The user has to reckon with an additional 50 per cent without sensor technology and about twice the price with integrated sensor technology. Regardless, this investment is quickly amortised when the application requires high dynamics, or when the mass to be moved needs to be kept as low as possible. In light of the noticeably lower mass inertia, the workpiece to be machined can then be accelerated or decelerated more quickly. Even when the machining time of a component is only reduced by less than one second, this can result in significant cost savings when there is an annual production of several hundred thousand parts.

However, if the mass to be moved is reduced because of the lightweight chuck, this not only impacts each movement cycle, but also the machines, robots and other automation parts' overall energy requirements and handling systems, which can thus be reduced in size and save more energy, in addition to becoming more material-efficient and cheaper.

Damping properties and lightweight construction protect the machine

A chuck is the interface between machine and workpiece. To minimise the load on the machine and tool and thereby extend the maintenance intervals and service life, it is not only a lower weight that pays off at high dynamics.

The vibration damping capabilities of the composites also pay off. Here, for instance, the CFRP chuck has up to 40 per cent higher damping when compared to the steel chuck, and the vibration amplitudes are significantly lower. The required cutting forces are 20 per cent lower. This in turn protects the tools' cutting edges.

"Sensitive" chuck supports digitisation

"Our CFRP chuck's special feature is found in the combination of lightweight construction and integrated sensor technology as well as the subsequent processing of the measured values. This means that the transformation to Industry 4.0, digitisation and the IoT is also making its way into clamping technology," says Attilio Mandarello, who is convinced of the intelligent lightweight chuck's future viability. After all, the evaluation of data is one of the necessary building blocks for a predictive production-related strategy.

Thanks to the sensors, the TOROK-CFRP-IQ can also sensitively clamp deformation-sensitive components - for example from upstream additive manufacturing - with a defined clamping force. In so doing, the reject rate is reduced and component quality is improved. The machining process itself is not only monitored by the sensors, as part of condition monitoring, but also documented.

In addition to permanent clamping force monitoring, the integrated sensor system also takes care of inline measurement of the workpiece clamping diameter. It also verifies whether the workpiece is correctly positioned, thus eliminating the need for cost- and energy-intensive pneumatic air system control.

With these capabilities, the lightweight clamping system can be used as a workpiece clamping system with integrated in-line measurement, as a workpiece gripper with integrated in-line measurement, or as a stand-alone measuring station.

With the lightweight design concept and integrated sensor technology, productivity can be significantly increased, component quality enhanced, and energy consumption and machine costs significantly reduced. Thus, the customer's added value is found in the reduced unit costs.


HAINBUCH is a supplier of high-precision clamping solutions and aims to simplify, revolutionise and automate clamping technology processes. The company sees itself as a pioneer and trendsetter for modern clamping solutions.