What is a Pin Clamp?

Pin Clamps, also known as pneumatic pull-down clamps or underbody clamps, act as a means of clamping and centring a component on a pin, which then pulls down other components. It does this using a hook that comes out from inside the pin itself.

The pins range in diameter from 16 mm to 40 mm, with the hook mechanism being located inside.

Originally Used in the Car Making Industry

First used in the automotive industry – where they were used to hold body panels and called underbody clamps – this clamp style is now used in just about any process where there is a need to hold down a component and locate it at the same time.

Pin Clamps are most often than not customised, as the pin shape, size and panel gap can all vary.

How is a Pin Clamp operated?

Pin Clamps are usually found in an automated production process, being operated in a pneumatic manner. The clamp when activated, opening and closing, in a fully automated manner. A manual variant is available for low volume production uses.

Why would you need a Pin Clamp?

Pin Clamps are used wherever the production process requires a component to be located and held securely at the same time through a hole or slot.

Underbody clamps so-called as they locate and clamp the underbody of a car during the production process. The panels of the cars pass down the line and have a series of fixtures placed on them, each one located and clamped with the Pin Clamps.

What are the problems faced when using Pin Clamps?

One of the issues that have to be dealt with when using any Pin Clamp is that, as they have moving parts – in this instance the pin and hook mechanism – they can be contaminated with weld splatter or glue.

Eventually, this will lead to the clamp stopping working or getting stuck. This can cause big problems as if the clamp sticks in the activated position, you won’t be able remove the component.

This normally leads to the panel being cut off – which is then often unusable – whilst also causing disruption to the production line.

The Best Pin Clamps Have Anti Contamination Features

The best Pin Clamps are designed to address this problem and ensure that the clamps can withstand contamination to the fullest extent possible whilst also being able to clean.

How do you specify a Pin Clamp?

As with any variant of Toggle Clamps, the major considerations in specifying Pin Clamps is the space that the clamp has to operate in. Other issues are whether it is to be used in an automated or manual process, as well as the pin size and shape and the panel gap.

How do you maintain a Pin Clamp?

Where they are to be used in a particularly hostile environment, the clamp will need a blowhole, these allowing the operators and maintenance crews with the ability to clear any build-up of weld splatter, glue or dirt.

Pin Clamps are, however, very tough pieces of kit and typically offer a long life cycle, but this very much depends on dealing with any build-up of glue or weld splatter.

Sandfield Engineering, based in the West Midlands in the UK is a well known and experienced manufacturer, producing a large range of tools and machinery for a huge range of automated production systems.