Heat Shrink Tooling Heater

Heat Shrink Tooling Heater  – Induction or Hot Air For The Small Workshop?

Heat-shrink tool holders have become increasingly popular for high speed and high accuracy machining operations. This is because heat-shrink tool holders have several advantages over traditional tool holders.

  • Strong, secure and precise tool fitting without moving parts in the tool head
  • Narrow profile tool holders for cutting in confined spaces
  • Higher RPM for precise cutting due to reduced weight
  • Reduced runout for precision cutting because the tool is evenly gripped
  • Extended tool life because of reduced stress on tools
  • No moving parts in tool head that can wear or fail in operation

The lack of moving parts in the tool head and strong, even grip on the tool shank make heat shrink tool holders extremely cost effective.

Tool and tool holder life is extended because the exact fit reduces overheating during operation caused by vibration and imperfect alignment.

Tool runout due to tolerances found in standard tool holders is eliminated in heat shrink applications. These feature 360 degree even clamping forces on the tool and can offer runout of less than 3 microns enabling very precise work.

Shrink-fit Tool Holders Offer High Speed, Precision & Rigidity

Increased cutting head accuracy means tighter cutting tolerances and higher workpiece precision. This reduces wastage and helps customers in sophisticated technology industries with exacting requirements.

Reducing runout enables tools to run safely at higher speeds, which improves cutting quality and component throughput.

Because there are no moving parts that clamp the tool in position the tool head can be reduced in size and weight and given a tapered profile.

This enables tools to travel through smaller apertures, potentially reducing the need to change tools or reorientate parts during manufacture, saving time and money.

Because the fit of the tool into the holder has no gaps, it is not possible for dust or metal chips to enter the tool head and cause loss of balance and potential damage.

The low-stress on tools that comes from using heat shrink holders increases tool life and reduces breakage.

Heat-Shrink Tool Holder Guide

How Does it Work?

  1. When it is cold, the aperture in the tool holder is smaller than the diameter of the tool that fits into it, by a very small amount.
  2. To fit a tool in the tool holder, the holder is heated to make it expand slightly. The tool can then be inserted into the tool holder.
  3. The tool holder is machined with very high precision to ensure that on cooling it grips the tool surface evenly and securely without gaps.
  4. To remove the tool you simply heat the tool holder again and the tool can be lifted out easily.

Types of  Heat Shrink Tooling Heater

The holder must be heated to enable the tool to be inserted. The heater must heat the tool head evenly and make it hot enough that it expands just enough to fit the tool into the aperture.

There are two types of heat shrink tooling heater that can be used: induction heaters and hot air heaters.

Induction heaters offer very rapid even heating but are expensive and may not be cost-effective, especially in small workshops.

Hot air heaters take longer to heat the tool holder but offer very good value. A well designed hot air heater will achieve the same quality of tool fitting as an induction heater.

Important Features of Heat Shrink Tooling Heaters

It is very important that the tool holder is heated evenly to ensure precise tool fitting and reduce stress. This is more difficult with a hot air heater than an induction heater. This means that the design of the hot air heater needs to be carefully thought out.

Poorly designed hot air heaters cause uneven heating and difficulty in fitting and removing tools from the tool holder.

There are also important safety and convenience requirements in heater design to avoid potentially serious accidents as well as making tool changing as simple and secure as possible.

The Chain Headway Heat Shrink Tooling Heater

At Chain Headway we have designed a hot air heater that provides uniform and controlled heating to the standard of an induction heater at a competitive price.

In our research and development we studied the heating options available and analysed their strengths and weaknesses. As a result we believe we have produced the best hot air shrink-fit tool holder heater available today.

We focused on the following features that we found to be the most significant in workflow and quality control:

Airflow Management Multiple apertures and controlled airflow supply even heating to the tool holder, reducing thermal stress.

Efficient tool cooling and special air flow to reduce stress on heater element for longer service life.

Ergonomic Design Convenient switch locations and sizes, tool holder mounts which rotate on bearings, and reliable clamping systems all improve the operator experience
Operational Safety Machine stability and ergonomic design reduce the risk of accidents
Cycle Times Exhaust apertures scaled to tool size allow less hot air to escape, and the tool holder is heated more quickly


If you would like to learn more about Chain Headway heat shrink tooling heater solutions please contact us.