Jig Boring Machines


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Jig Boring Machines

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  1. The jig boring machine creates highly accurate bores, cuts and grooves
  2. From highly accurate specialised work tools to universally applicable accurate work tools
  3. The use of jig boring machines in computer-operated production
  4. What brand names supply jig boring machines?
Used jig boring machine front view of work area

The jig boring machine creates highly accurate bores, cuts and grooves

Jig boring machines are used for the processing of bores, cuts and grooves with minimal tolerances. Its name comes from its original application, the production of drilling jigs.

  • Manufacturing of bores, cuts and grooves
  • Mainly used in woodworking
  • Used for products that require high levels accuracy
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From highly accurate specialised work tools to universally applicable accurate work tools

The production of precise bores with a simple boring machine requires exact marking, punching and clamping in of the workpiece for every single hole. For mass production, this process is not only time consuming but also means there is a high chance of mistakes. In the 18th century, drilling jigs were used to increase the quality of mass produced workpieces and to accelerate production. Drilling jigs themselves needed to be built following the classical methods. This changed in 1921, when the Swiss company CIP (Société genevoise d'Instruments de Physique) developed the first jig boring machine. This machine tool allowed for the coordinated positioning of boring machine, cutting and milling machines with accuracy levels of up to a micrometer.

SIP Jig boring machine in use
It allowed for the simple and quick production of drilling jigs, with production tolerances in the region of half hundredths of a millimetre. The jig boring machine is a vertical boring machine and milling machine with a cross table. The work tool carrier was developed as a portal and contained translational axes. One of the first costumers of the Swiss SIP was Henry Ford, who used this machine for the development of mass production in his automobile workshop in Detroit in 1924. In the second half of the 20th century, the introduction of numerically operated machine tools made the manufacturing of drilling jigs unnecessary. The NC-machines allowed for the direct steering and coordination of workpieces and processing without having to mark and punch the workpieces beforehand. Machine tools are still, however, described using the term "jig boring machine". The term encompasses milling and drilling machines that work with high levels of accuracy. They are characterised, among other things, by their particularly rigid frame, backlash-free bearings and guides, special features for the control and reduction of thermal loads on the machine, and integrated precision measuring equipment for all coordinated movements.

Used jig boring machine workspace detail

The use of jig boring machines in computer-operated production

The initial area of application for the jig boring machine (the manufacturing of drilling jigs) was no longer undertaken with the introduction of NC-machines. Drilling jigs were still used, but mainly in woodworking with relatively large production tolerances. NC-jig boring machines are usually applied where there is high demand for accuracy, for example, with for the production of measuring equipment, precision tools or machine tools. The production tolerances achievable with jig boring machines are usually so minimal, that they can only be achieved in a room with controlled temperatures.

What brand names supply jig boring machines?

Jig boring machines are still produced by SIP today, that currently go by the name Société d'Instruments de Précision SA under STARRAG. HECKERT (WMW) is another manufacturer of the jig boring machines, in addition to STARRAG. A further well-known manufacturer is the company DECKEL, who now goes under the name DMG MORI SEIKI, after being taken over by MAHO and subsequently fusing with GILDEMIESTER AG. The high-end machine tools are also produced by BURKHARDT + WEBER (ROMI) and others.

Used jig boring machine front view of tool
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