Schmalz vacuum blocks for CNC woodworking machines from Biesse: The innovative alternative

The Dittus carpentry workshop manufactures high-quality wood shop fittings and interior furnishings. To meet its customers exacting demands for quality and delivery times, the company uses a 5-axis CNC woodworking machine from the Italian manufacturer Biesse, with vacuum blocks serving as the clamping solution. But instead of the factory-fitted vacuum blocks, Dittus employs an alternative product from the vacuum specialist Schmalz: The Schmalz blocks are extremely durable, with a modular design and convincing price-performance ratio. Workpieces of varying dimensions are clamped securely and without damage.

VCBL-B vacuum blocks
With its VCBL-B vacuum blocks, Schmalz offers an attractive alternative to the original Biesse vacuum blocks.
Schmalz offers the vacuum block in different dimensions
Schmalz offers the vacuum block in different dimensions, thus enhancing the flexibility of the Dittus carpentry workshop in the Swabian town of Tübingen.
The workpiece is clamped securely and reliably
The workpiece is clamped securely and reliably.
Proprietor Hans-Martin Dittus
Proprietor Hans-Martin Dittus is delighted with the vacuum blocks from the vacuum specialist Schmalz.

Founded more than 100 years ago and situated in the Swabian town of Tübingen, the Dittus carpentry workshop with its 15-strong workforce manufactures high-quality shop and interior fittings as well as wood furniture. Utmost quality, modern machines and extensive expertise are the hallmarks of this medium-sized company. Its customers include well-known opticians, who rely on Dittus’ craftsmanship for their store interiors.

Until recently, the company commissioned external carpentry workshops with the production of workpieces on CNC woodworking machines. However, at the end of 2013, the ever increasing number of orders resulted in the purchase of an in-house system from the Italian manufacturer Biesse. With its new CNC machining center, Dittus successfully raised both its productivity levels and its machining capabilities.

Biesse machines are equipped with vacuum blocks, which clamp the workpieces during processing. Dittus was quick to inform itself about possible alternatives, thus leading the company to the vacuum specialists at Schmalz. With its VCBL-B vacuum blocks, Schmalz offers a product developed specifically for the Biesse console systems. The Schmalz vacuum blocks are compatible with the original spare parts, offer a cost-effective alternative and are easily fixated in the factory-fitted mounts.

This offers a number of benefits to the Dittus carpentry workshop, not least the wide range of models available from Schmalz: The vacuum blocks are available in heights of 29 and 48 mm for 3 and 4-axis machines and 74 mm for 5-axis machines. With dimensions of 140 x 130, 125 x 75, 120 x 50 and 130 x 30 mm, Dittus can address the varying requirements of its customers and clamp workpieces with the most diverse geometries – quickly, easily and securely. This requires no change to the positioning aid since the vacuum blocks have the same interference contour as the original parts.

In the case of wear, collisions or other damage, only the suction plates need to be replaced – on original Biesse systems, replacement of the entire block is generally required or the block continues to be used with greatly impaired performance. This results in a significant reduction of the holding force. Thanks to the quickly and easily replaceable suction plates, Dittus does not have to pay for the costly replacement of complete vacuum blocks. Moreover, spare parts costs are reduced and the carpentry workshop benefits from significant time savings, with the machines ready for use again after a brief downtime. In addition, the suction plate features a special contour with a flexible double sealing lip. This enables optimum adaptation to the workpiece surface of varying workpiece geometries and ensures effective vacuum distribution.

When replacing the entire vacuum blocks, the vacuum blocks are fitted to the standard Biesse mounts in the desired position. The direction can be easily adjusted in 15 degree increments. The block is equipped with strong magnets for additional, permanent prefixation in the mount. A smooth-running, plastic sensing valve activates the vacuum automatically and gently when a workpiece is applied. Unused vacuum blocks can remain in the mount.

The Dittus employees appreciate the benefits of the Schmalz vacuum blocks. “The exchangeable suction plate in particular is excellent. It can be easily changed in just a few steps and saves money when compared the complete original vacuum blocks,” praises company owner Hans-Martin Dittus. In addition, the robust housing made from reinforced plastic is extremely durable and ensures optimum stability: Even when subjected to very high forces, the vacuum block continues to hold the workpiece securely in the correct position. “This is very important to us. In the wood working industry, we are often faced with heavy and bulky workpieces. A reliable clamping system is of utmost importance in this regard,” explains master joiner Hans-Martin Dittus.


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