After a decade working together, Joe Gibbs Racing manufacturing team members say they’re still getting new technologies and capabilities from workholding pioneer SCHUNK.
“We want to be able to design parts in-house, so we have 29 CNCs, all equipped with SCHUNK workholding,” says Mark Bringle, technical sponsor and marketing director for Joe Gibbs Racing. “Those machines make about 90% of all of the parts that make us successful.”
SCHUNK assists Joe Gibbs Racing by developing workholding solutions that enable machining of track-specific modifications for racecars. By getting car parts cut quickly, SCHUNK ensures that Joe Gibbs Racing stays competitive on the racetrack.
Gibbs machinists point to specific SCHUNK components that have made the difference in machining parts. Machinist Steve LaRoche says SCHUNK’s VERO-S quick-change pallet system dramatically changed how team members approached machining.
“We use the VERO-S system for ease of setup and more accurate setups,” LaRoche says. “We can go from machine to machine with the same fixture and save a lot of time. Before the VERO-S, we would use clamps and T-nuts and clamp them down. We’d have to indicate parts for machining. With the VERO-S, we can take our fixture, set them down on the modules and just be done.”
LaRoche also worked with SCHUNK when he ran into a problem maintaining parallelism when machining hollow tubes. Traditional workholding solutions were bending the parts.
“We were trying to figure out a way to manufacture these tubes better, so we contacted SCHUNK on a Tuesday,” LaRoche says. “They had a [magnetic gripping system] here on Thursday, and we were able to put parts in the car – the way we wanted them – on the racetrack on Sunday.”
Keith Nance, also a CNC machinist at Gibbs, says SCHUNK’s ROTA-THW power chucks have supported the need to move workpieces between multiple machines without refixturing.
“It allows us to change from one job to another. The setup time is cut nearly in half – to a matter of minutes,” Nance says.
Joe Gibbs Racing www.joegibbsracing.com