7 Reasons To Use Steady Rest

steady rests installed on machine

Steady rests are used for workpiece support. They are specially used when the machine is not able to handle a workpiece. 

There are various reasons why you should consider the usage of steady rests into your turning machine. A steady rest will be helpful in minimizing the distortion in the workpiece which can arise due to its length and stiffness. Apart from that, a good steady rest will minimize the tolerance in the workpiece which in turn improves stability at higher speed. This improves the output of the machine and also boosts the quality of the final product. 

Many heavy applications in the automotive industry namely long axles shafts and similar parts, oil milling industry and defense sector uses steady rests to support workpieces while drilling, milling, turning, boring, grinding etc. 

In this blog post, New Karwal Engineering Works who have more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing a wide variety of steady rests in India explains the eight reasons why you should install steady rests into your turning machine. 

1. Improves the Stability of Workpiece

If you are looking to turn a heavy metal piece on a CNC machine then you should use steady rests. They are a must have tool because they prevent the deflection of the workpiece while doing activities like grinding, turning, boring, milling etc. thus improving the stability of the work piece. 

The three point design of self centering steady rests encloses the work piece and in some cases you do not need tailstock. 

As an experienced manufacturer of steady rests in India, our specialty is to provide easy to install steady rests that enhances the firmness of the piece improving roundedness throughout the grinding cycle. Our hydraulic grinding steady rests specially designed for CNC machines eliminated the vibration of the piece by providing a dynamic platform during the grinding process which is essential for manufacturing sigma mixers

Apart from that, there are some steady rests which automatically compensate for the oversized and undersized parts of the workpiece, thus maintaining the centre position. Since your piece is fixed, now you can run your machine at full speed thus reducing the cycle time.

2. Consistency in Quality

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, using good quality steady rests reduces the unwanted movement of the workpiece. This means that all the procedures will be performed accurately which in turn will increase the quality of the final product. 

Moreover, what we have seen while working in the steady rest manufacturing industry for more than 40 years is that it is difficult to maintain consistency in output. Our high quality steady rests ensure that the quality remains consistent and eliminate the need to rework and scrap especially at last stages of grinding.

Another factor that determines the quality of final output while using steady rests is the type of positioning used. Basically, there are two types of positioning when it comes to steady rests – Manual positioning and Automatic positioning. 

In manual positioning, the operator needs to adjust the center of the workpiece by himself and this process is time consuming and labor intensive. If the center of the workpiece is not adjusted properly or has errors then it will halt the manufacturing process and quality will not be up to the standards. 

However, in case of automatic positioning, the self centering steady rests are used and hydraulic clamping and unclamping facilitates in the centering of the workpiece leading to greater accuracy and consistency in output. 

3. Increase Tolerance and Reduce Rework

Using steady rests, the steadiness of the workpiece is improved which in turn increases the tolerance. When people hear steady rests, what often comes into their mind is that it is just a clamping device. 

Indeed, they are right but up to certain extent as for an excellent steady rest system there are various things that should be taken into account such as lubrication system, self catering hydraulic functioning, bases and brackets. 

A steady rest made from high quality material and good engineering. To exemplify, wide and strong arms of self centering hydraulic steady rests ensure proper support to the workpiece and enough space for tool clearance. This not only increases the reliability but also amplifies precision during machining. Thus the need to rework decreases.

4. Reduction in Cost

The use of a good quality self centering steady rest is beneficial in saving two most important resources which are time and money. Since the piece is held steadily by the arms of steady rest, you can perform machining on it at higher speed and manufacture more pieces at the same time. This increases the output and is helpful in saving ample time. Further, there is no need to work again which will also save labour cost.

5. Customization is Possible

In order to provide precise cutting of the workpiece it is mandatory to select a steady rest of appropriate size and its placements so that it does not interfere with the doors of the machine or hinders the working of cutting tools. 

According to our experience, customised steady rests are the solution. Some manufactures provide customised steady rests which have configurations such as narrow arms, side mounted cylinders, lubrication system et cetera which makes enough space for clearance of machine tools. 

Manu design softwares with 3D modelling features enables the manufacturers to customise designs of the products and add other features like automatic clamp base, valves, tubing, electrical connections to machine and much more. 

6. Lubricating Properties

Instead of using a manual system for lubricating, an automatic system of lubrication is a long term solution and preferred by most operators. While designing a lubricating system, there are two things that we should take in consideration – 

  • The lubricating system must be programmable and controlled by operators or by controllers like PLC. 
  • The lubricating system must be able to lubricate all the parts effectively including roller bearing, workpiece and other dynamic parts. 

Another thing that should be kept in mind is the presence of impurities in the workpiece or in the manufacturing process that can lower the quality of final produce. Always choose pressurised, sealed or vacuumed construction that keeps away the impurities.

7. Ensure Operator Safety at Higher Speeds

Safety is the number one priority in every manufacturing process and a steady rest supplements this aspect. Since the piece is stable at higher speed, there is no possibility that the piece may deflect from the running machine and cause any type of damage. This gives owners and operators peace of mind and a sense of reliability. 

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