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JJ Churchill Ltd reduces machining operations by half with Blue Photon technology

May 10th, 2018 by Blue Photon

Photo of tooling and machining equipment at JJ ChurchillAerospace engineering firm JJ Churchill has announced it has reduced its tooling costs by 5% with a 50% reduction in the number of machining operations on a specific critical part.

This has been achieved with Blue Photon technology which is marketed in the UK and Europe by NCMT Limited.

This technology is applied to a titanium aluminide aerofoil blade component which is an extremely difficult material to fixture and machine. Blue Photon fixes the component to the tool with an adhesive, which cured under UV light, is strong enough for the most rigorous machining techniques including 5-axis CNC. The process is a replacement for encapsulation, providing reduced fixture complexity. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Study: Shop Finds Fixturing Solution for Flexing Parts

November 11th, 2017 by Blue Photon

Photo of a Blue Photon pallet gripping a part during the machining processPrecision Grinding and Manufacturing uses an atypical means to fixture thin parts that are prone to flexing when conventional workholding clamps are used: adhesive cured by UV light. -By Derek Korn

Sometimes, the trickiest aspect of developing an effective machining process is figuring out how best to fixture the part. This can be especially challenging for castings and other workpieces that are relatively thin, because those parts are prone to flexing when conventional mechanical clamps (and even vacuum chucks in some cases) are used. Operators must take care not to distort such parts while tightening clamps, otherwise the parts will spring back to their natural state once the clamps are removed after machining. Vibration can also be an issue for parts like these if they aren’t rigidly fixtured, meaning a quality surface finish might be tough to achieve and cutting parameters might have to be dialed back, extending cycle times. Finding a way to effectively fixture complex, contoured parts can be just as difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Cutting Tool Engineering: Stick With It

September 1st, 2017 by Blue Photon

Productive Times: Stick With It

By Kip Hanson – Published September 1, 2015

Photo of conventional, less effective grippers for part manipulationLet’s say you want to machine your initials on your favorite Hummel figurine or cut the likeness of the school mascot on your daughter’s Little League helmet. How are you going to grip them? A conventional way to grip fragile, difficult-to-hold workpieces is to encapsulate them in some sort of potting compound, a time-consuming and wasteful process.

Rather than mix up a tub of two-part epoxy, consider photo-activated adhesive workholding (PAAW). Read the rest of this entry »

Case Study: Urschel Laboratories Inc.

May 3rd, 2017 by Blue Photon

Productive Times: Bonded By Light

By Alan Richter – Published May 3, 2017, in Cutting Tool Engineering magazine

Adhesive being applied to the gripper head of a Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system

Adhesive is applied to the gripper head of a Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system. Image via CTE and courtesy of Urschel Laboratories.

Urschel Laboratories Inc. manufactures industrial equipment to slice, dice, shred and mill virtually any food product.

According to Bill Monroe, senior manufacturing engineer for Urschel, the company machines parts for the food processors at its only manufacturing facility, located in Urschel’s 350,000-sq.-ft. headquarters. Urschel produces many of these workpieces in its two foundries. “We have a no-bake foundry and an investment foundry,” Monroe said.

As part of a major new project that Urschel, Chesterton, Ind., started late last year, Monroe needed to hold a 300-series stainless steel billet that was convex on one side and then access five sides when machining it on a 5-axis machine. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Study: NCMT Limited

April 22nd, 2017 by Blue Photon

Adhesive Workholding Allows Turbine Blades To Be Ground In One Hit

Technique offers the possibility of automated production

A fixture designed by NCMT for securing a turbine blade on one aerofoil surface using four adhesive grippersA new method for securing a turbine blade prior to machining by gluing one side of its aerofoil to a fixture, rather than using mechanical clamping, allows the root and tip to be ground in one operation. Traditionally, due to clamp interference, at least two operations are required on conventional CNC grinders to machine the fir-tree and wedge face on the root as well as the shroud end features at the tip.

The one-hit manufacturing process is not only faster, but also eliminates work-in-progress and the risk of introducing inaccuracy due to repeated refixturing. The technique is being developed in the UK by NCMT, which sells Makino’s VIPER grinding platforms across Europe. Since May 2015, the company has also been European agent for the patented Blue Photon photo-activated adhesive workholding system from the USA. Read the rest of this entry »

Time Saver: Spindle Mounted Cleaning Tool

August 10th, 2016 by Blue Photon
Spindle Mounter Gripper Cleaning Tool

Spindle Mounter Gripper Cleaning Tool

The 82400 Spindle Mounted Gripper Cleaning tool mounts in any 3/4 diameter collet or end mill holder. The assembly comes with the tool, a spring-loaded, replaceable head and the HAAS program.

After removing the part from the grippers, you can insert the fixture back into the machine, insert the Spindle Mounter Gripper Cleaning Tool, and run the program. The head grinds residual, cured adhesive off of grippers in seconds. You are ready to load a new part without resetting the grippers in the fixture. The replaceable head is good for 1000 to 1250 cleaning cycles when using the Blue Photon cleaning cycle parameters and a coolant.

Here is the Cleaning Tool in action:

Ceramic Turbine Part

June 1st, 2016 by Blue Photon

The Part: A turbine part.

The Material: Ceramic.

The Problem: The brittle nature of ceramic was easily damaged when traditional workholding methods were being used.

The Solution: Blue Photon’s photo-activated workholding system was designed to eliminate scrap from fixture induced damage and part movement during processing.

Additional Benefits: By implementing the Blue Photon workholding system the manufacturer was able to eliminate clamping induced scrap, part movement during machining and increased output feed rates. Overall, the manufacturer saw quality improvements. The new workholding system allows for easy automation of this highly valued part.

Blue Photon’s National Sales Team

April 19th, 2016 by Blue Photon

We are proud to announce that we have established a strong network of well-trained manufacturers’ representative agencies to cover sales and support throughout the U.S. Individual sales representatives from the following agencies will take the lead introducing Blue Photon grip technology, and supporting end users with training and applications.


In addition to U.S. coverage, we have established agreements with MDS in Ontario, Canada, Dynamic Tools Corporation in Japan and NCMT Limited in the United Kingdom to cover Western Europe.

For additional representative information, visit our website at BluePhotonGrip.com/contact/find-a-rep or contact us to schedule a hands on demo of Blue Photon’s patented workholding system.

Introduction of the sales network coincides with the release of our updated website. The new site features in-depth technical product information, instructional videos, and full descriptions of system components and how they work.

Blue Photon is a photo-activated, adhesive workholding solution that first hit the market in the aerospace industry. Complex-shaped, hard-to-hold parts, and delicate materials like ceramic and laminated composites are keenly suited to the technology which supplies up to 605 lbs of tensile holding power. However, it soon became apparent that the technology was well suited to every industry from automotive to medical. Any part that is at risk for distortion from traditional clamping, or that poses complications in fixture design is easily and simply held with Blue Photon’s patented grippers and BlueGrip™ workholding adhesive.

We look forward to hearing how Blue Photon can help you!

Updated July 9, 2021.

Magnesium Aerospace Cover

April 8th, 2016 by Blue Photon

The Part: A 16” x 18” aerospace cover.

The Material: Magnesium casting.

The Problem: The entire top portion of the part was a gasket surface that needed to be flat within .005. The manufacturer previously had chatter problems because of the limited areas to clamp.

The solution: The manufacturer designed and built a Blue Photon Workholding system. Grippers were placed where needed along the periphery of the part to hold and eliminate chatter.

Additional benefits: Increased feed rates, lowered cycle time, less operator fatigue and increased part quality.