Hydraulic vs. Manual Workholding Clamps in Machining Processes


There are many ways to clamp a workpiece in a machining process. Some processes use hydraulics, while others use manual clamping systems. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. As machining processes become more advanced, the need for precision and accuracy increases. Which clamping systems are best for your application? Let’s take a look at both hydraulic and manual clamping systems.

Hydraulic Clamping Systems

Hydraulic clamping systems are often used in high-precision machining processes. They provide a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. Hydraulic clamping also allows for a wide range of adjustments, making it possible to clamp workpieces of different sizes and shapes.

The main advantage of hydraulic clamping is automation and the level of control it provides. Hydraulic systems can be programmed to apply the correct amount of clamping force for each workpiece. This reduces the risk of human error and increases consistency between parts. By using hydraulic pressure, workpieces can be clamped very tightly, preventing them from moving during the machining process. This results in more accurate machining, as well as longer tool life.

However, hydraulic clamping systems are more expensive or larger than manual systems.

Manual Clamping Systems

While manual clamping systems don’t provide the same level of accuracy as hydraulic systems, they can still produce high-quality workpieces. Manual clamping systems are typically simpler than hydraulic systems. However, they are great for low-volume applications that do not require the same level of accuracy or automation.

Manual clamping systems may be a benefit if you have a limited workspace or need to move the system around often. Manual clamping systems are also typically less expensive than hydraulic systems.

Factors to Consider

Before deciding on a workholding system, there are several factors you’ll need to consider, including:

  • What is the expected daily volume of parts?
  • What is the nature of the part that needs gripping?
  • Is automation incorporated into the process?
  • Is the tool path restricted?
  • How difficult is it to go from one part to another?
  • Is there a risk of dangerous chips piling up if they’re not evacuated?
  • What is the expected level of complexity for fixturing?

There is always a workholding solution for every application. Vise Force® is a brand of universal workholding clamps that work for both hydraulic and manual clamping systems. These clamps are easily adjustable and work with a wide variety of workpieces.

Vise Force® Workholding Clamps: The Universal Solution to Hydraulic or Manual Clamping

Vise Force® workholding clamps offer the best of both worlds as they can be used in either hydraulic or manual clamping systems. The clamps are constructed to expand evenly and apply balanced workholding pressure to the workpiece. By minimizing movement, vibration, and clatter, these low-profile clamps can optimize your machining process.

Designed for maximum precision and accuracy, Vise Force® workholding clamps can be easily adjusted to fit your specific applications. These clamps may be the perfect solution for your workholding needs if you’d like to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Chip-free design (internal return springs)
  • Through hardened (28-32 Rc)
  • A variety of clamp models to suit your application
  • Clamping forces of up to 14,500 lbs
  • One bolt tightening operation
  • Low profile design

Custom Workholding Solutions

Vise Force® wedge clamps from PAWS Workholding are an excellent workholding solution for a variety of applications. With the ability to be used in both hydraulic and manual clamping systems, these clamps offer maximum flexibility. If you need help finding workholding clamps in Michigan or the perfect workholding solution for your application, contact PAWS Workholding today.