More than ever before, today’s technology is concerned with precision. Part tolerances and fittings are now routinely measured on the nanometer scale. It’s no surprise that incredibly precise machining is becoming more vital every day. That’s where Swiss turn machines come in. When complex parts have to meet exacting standards, there’s simply no better technology available.
Originally designed for making tiny watch components, Swiss turn machines have changed the face of precision machining. Tolerances have dropped an order of magnitude from a thousandth of an inch to a ten-thousandth of an inch. It’s the most significant development in machining in a century.
Medical and Dental Applications
Thirty years ago, there were few applications for this level of precision outside of watchmaking. It didn’t take long, though, for the dental and medical industries to notice. CNC swiss-type machines can produce many medical precision parts in a matter of seconds, right down to the required surface finish.
Multiple axis Swiss turning machines incorporate CNC capabilities, allowing for multiple functions to be carried out simultaneously. The tightly controlled raw stock and rigid supports allow for heavier, faster cuts to be made than would be possible on standard mills or the traditional lathe, all without sacrificing precision or the resulting surface finish.
In the environmental industries, we’ve taken a leading role. Our Swiss machined components are found at the heart of air and soil contamination sensors. Our components are monitoring areas where spills or contamination are possible. They’re monitoring existing ground contaminations to understand and track how and where the invisible plumes move or strengths change.
They’re also monitoring where contaminations are being cleaned up, both to make sure the environment is left pristine, and that the contaminated materials are disposed of properly. None of this would be possible without the tight tolerances and high precision provided by our Swiss machine turning.
We’ve also found a number of space-based applications that only Swiss machine turning can accommodate. Temperatures swing 400 degrees depending on whether something is in sunlight or shade. That means a lot of thermal expansion and contraction.
Bare metal components can weld together just by touching. And of course, if your device is sitting a million miles away in space, or is exploring another object in the solar system, the last thing you want is for your component to cause the billion-dollar project to fail. Lives are relying on Swiss machines turning every time men and women go up in a rocket.
The engineering for space-based projects is beyond exacting, and it has to be right every single time. We’re proud to take on that challenge with Swiss machine turning.
Scale is Everything
The benefits of Swiss machine turning all come down to scale. It’s not just the scale of the machine tolerances, but also the flexibility and speed of production. Machining a part on a standard metal lathe means rough-cutting the raw material down close to the finished diameter.
The closer you get to the target size, the slower work goes. It’s common to cut down to within a few thousandths, then maybe adjust tools or speeds to guarantee a good, finished surface for these small parts. That’s followed by more measurements and maybe another pass to hit the exact dimension. A spring pass can follow that just to ensure material flexing didn’t cause a high spot somewhere. All that might be followed up with abrasive pads or sandpaper to clear up the surface or take it down the last thousandth.
Compare that to the same process on a Swiss machine lathe, and the benefits start to come into focus. Because of the scale of the raw material and the parts being cut, cutting can move much faster. With most cutting happening within a few millimeters of the chuck, rigidity is no problem. The tail stock is rarely needed for support, and there’s zero need for steady rests.
Standard lathes and mills require you to locate the stock in the chuck or on the table. That’s eliminated in Swiss machine turning. The close cutting and extreme rigidity results in heavier cuts being possible. Fewer cuts are required to reach the target dimensions. And as with regular n-axis CNC machines, multiple tools can be employed on a part at the same time. Finish quality surfaces are the norm, leaving parts ready to use or finish.