It’s little wonder that there are so few manufacturers in North America offering Swiss turning services. Doing Swiss-style machining right is both an art and a science. Like conducting an orchestra, there are many “moving parts” – both in the literal and figurative senses – that must all come together perfectly to create a well-crafted component.
Plus, of course, the smaller the component the more the difficulty level increases. When you’re working with tolerances of one micron or less, there is simply no room for error. Yet when done properly, the final result is music to the ears of engineers, as well as to those budgeting their designs.
The Sweet Music of Precise Swiss Machining
The genius of Swiss turning machines is that they pack so many tools and features into a relatively small space. By having cutting heads which are free to move in three dimensions, they can achieve incredible precision while creating parts which are far more complex than other lathes could make.
In some cases, for the most detailed and complicated parts, we could have to be planning motion across 13 separate axes, while utilizing two spindles and four live tooling drives!
To make this happen, the rotating speeds of the parts being machined can reach up to 100,000RPM. Parts may need to be in either a radial or axial configuration, to ensure the right surfaces are exposed to the cutter when they need to be. When setting up the system for such parts, it’s crucial that we always remain mindful of the position of both the part and the tools around it, to avoid collisions that could be disastrous at such high speeds.
All the while, we must manage the swarf – filings and cuttings – to prevent them from getting in the way and keep the machine running as long as possible without needing to be cleaned out.
On top of all that, there’s the matter of optimization. We want to deliver the best possible parts, with low turnaround times and budget-friendly prices. That means balancing the machining time between the main and sub spindles to minimize the amount of time each part stays inside the machine.
Luckily, thanks to our computer-controlled systems, these superhuman engineering feats are entirely manageable. Plus, once a program has been written, checked, and set, it only takes one human operator to oversee the process!
Swiss Machining Services in North America
If you’re in need of fast precise machining for parts that are small, complicated, or require extremely tight tolerances, turn to Integral Machining. Our experience in Swiss-style machining is second to none, and we love taking on new challenges.