Market segments are defining the clamping technology of the future
New structures in the MAPAL clamping technology product range – both from an organisational and product perspective
Dennis Minder, who has been responsible within MAPAL clamping technology for six years, took over overall product management for the department from Jochen Schmidt at the start of 2021. Schmidt is now responsible for the General Machining market segment. In the interview, the two spoke about this long-planned step, the future of clamping technology and the new role of the market segments.
Mr Schmidt, you handed over official responsibility for clamping technology to Mr Minder at the start of the year. What brought you to this decision?
Jochen Schmidt: The entire company is currently undergoing realignment. Part of the organisational restructuring is increasing the focus on market segments. At the start of the year, I took over overall responsibility for the General Machining market segment. Since 2018, Dennis Minder and I had already been planning for him to take over clamping technology product management from me eventually. Since then, he has gone through all areas of clamping technology and learned everything about our products, customers and the markets from scratch and gradually grown into his role. When we introduced our redesigned chucks, he had already taken responsibility for this.
Mr Minder, what are your plans for clamping technology at MAPAL?
Dennis Minder: Having already been able to play a role in the clamping technology journey in recent years, I plan to stay the course. The transfer of responsibility took place smoothly, and there was therefore no rough cut – apart from the contact partner, there will be no major changes. We will continue to give our all to putting customer needs first.
How would you describe the journey you have taken in a few words?
Dennis Minder: We are currently undergoing a transformation process. The chuck used to be just a tool holder. Now, it is increasingly becoming an application-oriented, performance-enhancing element of the overall system. To continue this, we plan to focus even more on individual market segments in the future and develop chucks for special requirements from the markets. The individual product and market segment departments at MAPAL are working closely together on this – so Jochen Schmidt and I will also be continuing our close cooperation.
Jochen Schmidt: I can only confirm this. In market segment management, we are intensively confronting the individual needs of customers from the specific markets and using these to generate – in cooperation with the respective product management – corresponding standard products and custom solutions. While this has already taken place in the same way in the past, we will now be increasing our focus on the individual market segments. Our optimally tailored overall system allows us to offer maximum added value for the users – our customers.
Were the two recently presented chucks with their new design – the UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5° and UNIQ Mill Chuck – already developed in this way?
Jochen Schmidt: In fact, we developed the essential characteristics that make these chucks special using specific customer requirements. With the UNIQ Mill Chuck, the corresponding requirements actually appeared in different market segments – wherever our customers machine high-quality parts in highly dynamic machining processes.
Dennis Minder: We took these requirements, including from customers in the aviation or die & mould sector, and transformed them into our UNIQ Mill Chuck. With this hydraulic chuck, we satisfy the main concerns for maximum process reliability, which is the most important requirement with these machining processes.
What makes the new UNIQ Mill Chuck so special, besides its process reliability?
Dennis Minder: For the new chuck, we developed our existing MillChuck HB further, which has, for example, proven itself many times over with trochoidal milling. We also designed the new UNIQ Mill Chuck for highly dynamic processes with spindle speeds of up to 33,000 rpm. To do so, we adjusted the entire geometry, technology and design. For example, the contour is optimised for dynamic processes. Both the UNIQ Mill Chuck and the UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5°, therefore both chucks designed according to the new industrial design, offer clear added value – not only in terms of their function, but also with regards to their ergonomics and handling.
Which customer requirements does the second chuck, the UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5°, meet?
Dennis Minder: Due to the few tool restrictions on the shrink chuck, many parts were previously only able to be machined with it, meaning that parts with critical contours were reserved for shrink chucks. Now hydraulic chucks however offer indisputably significant advantages over shrink chucks. To enable our customers to use these benefits, we implemented the original contour of a shrink chuck in a hydraulic chuck. This is possible as the tension in our UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5° is fed into the collar – without any technical disadvantages for our customers. They only have advantages with the new chuck – easy handling, better surface finishes and a very ergonomic chuck. If customers switch their machining to our UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5°, they also do not have to plan any new calculations for tool restrictions, but can directly use the chuck as a “plug and play” solution.
Jochen Schmidt: In general, with this new chuck, we are accompanying our customers in switching to the hydraulic chuck. We meet them where they are – and in many cases, that is the shrink chuck. To make the switch as easy as possible for the user, we attach instructions directly onto the product. For example, the chucks feature a prominent symbol with the instruction “Do not shrink”. This is because the original contour may otherwise lead to confusion in manufacturing and a hydraulic chuck must never be used in combination with a shrink unit.
These are just the first two chucks in the new industrial design. What’s next? Are other chucks planned?
Dennis Minder: Of course, other chucks in the new design are on the way. These will be able to be identified with the UNIQ in their name. UNIQ represents the unique quality of the chucks – but more on that later. Currently, we are focusing on offering the UNIQ Mill Chuck and the UNIQ DReaM Chuck 4.5° in other versions. For example, we are currently seeing a high demand for a BT30 interface for the UNIQ Mill Chuck in Asia. We are working on implementing this requirement and will launch the corresponding chuck on the market this year. Both hydraulic chucks will also soon be available with new clamping diameters. Furthermore, we are working on other products to add to our programme – we will have more to report on this soon.
Thank you for the interview.