FixChip

The panel joiner of the future!

FixChip is the panel joiner of the future, offering full harmonization with automated CNC production processes.

FixChip

Today’s trend is towards increasing use of nesting machines, but until now, producers had to accept that there were no technologically or economically viable solutions available for the production of joints.

‘That got me thinking,’ explains Tom Smeets, inventor and patent holder of the FixChip.

The birth of FixChip

FixChip

As an importer of PaletteCAD, we come into contact with interior builders on a daily basis. In addition to the straightforward drawing operations offered by PaletteCAD, it also offers a direct connection to CNC machines. We see more and more people opting for CNC nesting machines, which offer a whole range of benefits but are held back by cumbersome production methods.

Thinking was always based on existing joints, so we turned that on its head and looked at how we could produce on CNC nesting machines efficiently, quickly, and accurately without fuss or error-prone equipment. The result? FixChip.

Efficiency

Anyone considering purchasing or replacing a CNC machine has to factor in the choice of a nesting machine. All too frequently, the joint problem is the deciding factor when it comes to opting for a traditional bar machine: quite simply, there was no technologically or economically feasible way of producing the joint.

Horizontal joints cannot be produced in a clamp or on a nesting machine, or at least only with considerable difficulty. We know that systems have been developed as a solution to this problem. These are systems in which the components are nested farther apart, that mill recesses, and then use a fragile drilling unit to drill the end holes. However, the unfavourable production times, production losses, soiling, and waste pieces on the machine hardly make this an attractive solution.

Even the expensive Clamex joiner offers nothing by way of a solution for production companies. The fact that nesting machines are still being chosen in spite of this gives an indication of the many other benefits these machines offer.

By contrast, production for FixChip on a nesting machine offers fast, clean, and economically efficient production, in addition to the benefits already mentioned, without the need to improvise with unappealing production methods.

Some of the benefits at a glance

  • Production time saving of at least 20%

  • 100% accurate

  • No error-prone equipment

  • Reduced investment in machine software

  • Maximum return from gross panels

  • Less machine soiling

  • Less waste on the machine

The same comparison can be applied to all existing joining methods.
The only joint that offers the same technological benefits is the Cabineo, but the Cabineo is unsuitable for production companies –
it is impractical to install, expensive, and remains visible after installation.

FixChip compared to traditional joining methods

Dowels are still the most common joints in furniture.

What are the benefits and drawbacks when compared to FixChip?

  • Dowels have a smaller adhesive surface, which means that more can be used per cabinet.

  • Dowels are produced on CNC machines with three different machining units:
    1. Formatting with the main spindle
    2. Horizontal drilling with a drilling unit
    3. Vertical drilling with a vertical drilling spindle

    Any deviation from the individual spindles can be seen in the final result. As a result, adjusting and calibrating the machine tends to be a costly endeavour that needs to be carried out by the machine manufacturer.
    By contrast, with FixChip production, all operations are carried out with the main spindle, so even if there is a deviation in the machine, the FixChip will always fit perfectly.

  • Irrespective of the machine adjustment, bores always exhibit deviations, as they seek out their own course (end bores in particular always exhibit deviations). With FixChip, this is no longer a problem, as the movements are made by highly stable tools.

  • If you look at the picture of the FixChip, you’ll notice that the impact depth is limited, which means that you always have the perfect impact depth on both sides, with consistent adhesive distribution. With dowels, there is a risk of the dowel being seated too deep or too shallow in the end, which means that the adhesive is not well distributed on the opposite side or that the components do not always fit together tightly.

Watch the video showing how FixChip is used

Recommended production method for FixChip

Traditional CNC machines

  • Saw parts with 4 mm excess

  • Format (main spindle)

  • End grooves (grooving cutter 34 x 6 mm on main spindle)

  • Vertical grooves (grooving cutter 6 mm on main spindle)

CNC nesting machines

  • Drill with 35-mm shank counterbore instead of horizontal machining (main spindle preferred)

  • Unnest panels, 0.4 mm excess, and leave 0.5 mm in depth (panel stress)

  • End grooves (grooving cutter 34 x 6 mm on main spindle)

  • Vertical grooves (grooving cutter 6 mm on main spindle)

  • Mill and cut parts to size

Tools required

  • Grooving cutter 34 x 6 mm

  • Grooving cutter 6 mm

  • Shank counterbore 35 mm (for nesting machine)