Holding fuel rods in the nuclear industry

nuclear fuelWhen workholding is critical to your process you need to deal with people who understand it fully. BNFL turned to UEW to provide a solution suitable for handling their client's fuel rods. We were commissioned to supply a special system that would hold Zircalloy fuel rod cans whilst they were filled with fuel pellets and then capped prior to welding. The cans were around 12.5mm to 25mm dia with 0.5mm wall thickness, and made of a soft metal, so were easily deformed. They needed to be gripped 100mm from one end whilst a 6KN axial load was applied during the interference fit capping process - without deforming or even marking the surface! An extremely difficult specification to meet.

UEW suggested an air operated, twin-acting collet chuck arrangement and successfully designed and manufactured 5 units, which are now in use at the Thorpe reprocessing plant. We also produced custom collets for each design.

Contract value: around £160k

Super-size chuck for holding pipe-rings

viking johnsonViking Johnson needed a super-size bespoke chuck to hold a ring component used in large diameter pipe expansion joint manufacturing. UEW designed and manufactured a 2.3m diameter chuck to meet this need. The chuck was a 6-jaw self centering type, interspaced with three additional clamp blocks moving radially along a castellated track to achieve satisfactory grip on the component and uniform loading.

Contract value: around £100k

Client testimonial:

"The final design has produced a set of tooling that is both easy to adapt to the vatious sizes and has redcued the number of fixtures required, for the holding suppport of the various components. The tooling was delivered to the timescale agreed and this again has been beneficial to production requirements."

Special finger chuck for gripping a crown gear

Cramlington Precision Forge Ltd needed a special chuck to hold a crown gear on its outer edge whilst machining the bore on a CNC lathe. They had been struggling to achieve the required accuracy with their current workholding arrangement and so asked UEW to advise on a better solution. We proposed a custom designed finger chuck, clamping onto the gear teeth to achieve a stable and accurate location for the component.

Tombstone fixture for holding turbo bodies

Turbo Precision components Ltd needed an accurate method of holding multiple components on a twin pallet machining CNC machining centre. UEW designed a special tombstone fixture in which two components are manually clamped to a vertical plate (tombstone), which is itself secured to a cast base plate on machining centre. This is a typical example of one of our bespoke prismatic workholding solutions.