Forkardt Acquires Soft Touch Technology to Lead Market with Custom Workholding Solutions

Non-Deforming Technology Meets Automotive and Aerospace Manufacturing Lightweighting Initiatives

TRAVERSE CITY, MI November 5, 2019 – Forkardt Inc., a leading provider of custom workholding solutions, today announced the acquisition of the intellectual property (IP) Soft-Touch® technology assets from General Manufacturing Systems, a supplier of custom workholding products in Saginaw, Michigan. With Soft-Touch, Forkardt strengthens its advanced custom and highly specialized workholding capabilities and IP portfolio for challenging applications in the automotive and aerospace markets such as the manufacturing of aluminum die cast materials and thin walled components where part deformation is a concern.

To meet the evolving demands of increasingly electrified vehicle platforms and ever rising demand for increased fuel efficiency, manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive, aerospace, maritime and rail industries are racing to design and produce lighter, more efficient vehicles and components. Lightweighting is a top priority for manufacturers today as they move to a mix of lighter, more advanced materials for structural parts. But these newer, flexible thin walled parts can easily distort under the pressure of normal machining and have a higher risk of bending or deforming in the clamping process.

Soft-Touch® Chucking System for Non-Deforming Workholding

With this acquisition, Forkardt will now provide a leading technology solution for thin walled, advanced materials, where part deformation is a concern. The unique Soft-Touch chuck design allows clamp fingers to actually conform to a part’s natural, as processed contour. Coupled with regulated clamping pressure, the resulting force dynamics actually give rigidity to fragile and delicate parts.

“Soft-Touch is a critical technology that allows Forkardt to address the changing needs of the market and strengthen our capabilities around advanced materials,” said Chris Brown, Global Product Manager at Forkardt. “With this acquisition, Forkardt now is the leader in non-deforming workholding solutions for the automotive, aerospace and advanced materials markets.

“We believe Forkardt provides one of the most advanced workholding solutions across the globe today,” said Gerry Mueller, CEO of General Manufacturing Systems. “The Soft-Touch technology that I created has a bladder which expands to grasp a part, matching the components irregular shape. This innovation meets the needs of manufacturers looking for distortion free workholding and aligns perfectly to Forkardt’s automotive and aerospace target market needs.” Please click here to see the product page.

The acquisition closed in October, 2019. Terms were not disclosed.

About Forkardt

Forkardt, a Hardinge company, specializes in the design and manufacture of high precision, high quality, specialty and custom designed rotating workholding devices for machine tools. Forkardt’s engineered products have held parts such as turbine blades, blisks, spools, AFT shafts, cones, nozzles, and rotors, for both large and small components manufacturers. From power chucks and collet chucks to special fixtures, cylinders and rotary products, Forkardt offers a complete line of assemblies and accessories.  To learn more, please visit us at: