Automatic Screw Machine Products

Case Studies

Automatic Screw Machine Products

APPLICATION: Simplify Set Up on a VMC With Multiple Vises and a Rotary Indexer

BACKGROUND: Automatic Screw Machine Products, located in Decatur, Alabama, is a manufacturer of precision-turned and milled parts and specialty fasteners. Automatic SMP serves the aerospace, heavy equipment, automotive and marine industries as well as OEM manufacturers. The diverse capabilities of Automatic SMP enable machining of a wide variety of material grades such as heat resistant super alloys, aluminum, brass, steel, and stainless steel.


Seeking to expand from a small machine operation, Automatic SMP planned to purchase a large Mazak VTC-200C vertical machining center to enable broader capabilities and numerous applications. The machine set-up was quite elaborate, involving multiple vises as well as a rotary indexer. A divider in the Mazak machine also made it possible to run the same or different parts on each side concurrently. “Indicating time was a major concern,” pointed out Automatic SMP Business Unit Manager Billy Kritinar, “especially given the complexity of the machine configuration and the volume of changeovers required.” Kritinar was concerned about the inefficiency of time lost to repositioning fixtures with each changeover that could negate the value of the Automatic SMP investment in the new machine. Automatic Screw Machine Products needed a solution to minimize set-up and indicating time.


Fortunately for Automatic Screw Machine Products, another company with a similar machine configuration recommended the Ball Lock Mounting System to solve these workholding issues. Automatic SMP was able to use the Ball Lock system to secure the multiple vise configuration using standard Jergens fixture plates. The Ball Lock System worked with the rotary indexer as well, using a customized fixture plate designed and manufactured in collaboration with Jergens.


According to Kritinar, “The variety and utility of applications are now virtually limitless with this configuration, and the changeover of fixtures is much faster and simpler.”


  • Vise set-ups now take < 30 seconds (as compared to 5 minutes previously)
  • Alignment of the rotary indexer once took 25-30 minutes – now in place in <5 minutes


ASMP's Ball Lock System
ABOVE: ASMP's Ball Lock System
With the Ball Lock System, the fixture plate
is already aligned. So you drop it in place,
lock it down, and you’re ready to go.

— ASMP Business Unit Manager, Billy Kritinar


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For Automatic Screw Machine Products, the accuracy and fixture repeatability provided by the Ball Lock Mounting System are critical benefits. The time saved in repositioning and indicating for multiple vises and a rotary indexer is significant and especially important with set up transitions for smaller lot sizes.


We have the confidence to run programs from one datum point, without even needing a dry run, because the fixture plate is positioned
exactly as it was on previous runs.

— ASMP Business Unit Manager, Billy Kritinar


Jergens Workholding- Ball Lock System

Jergens Workholding- Ball Lock System
ABOVE: Ball Lock locating pin cutaway