An Introduction to CNC Swiss Lathe

Posted on Jan 14, 2021

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CNC swiss Lathe

CNC Swiss lathe, which is also called Swiss CNC turning machine or Swiss-type automatic lathe machine, is used to perform high precision machining operations to produce tiny parts at a high speed.

What Is a CNC Swiss Lathe?

CNC Swiss lathe, which is also called Swiss CNC turning machine or Swiss-type automatic lathe machine, is used to perform high precision machining operations to produce tiny parts at a high speed. Originally, Swiss lathe technology was developed to manufacture tiny components in Swiss watches, which is now incorporated with the CNC system and soon gains more and more popularity. CNC Swiss lathe can provide high precision machining in a wide range of industrial applications, sometimes the tight tolerances can be as small as several tenths of a thousandth of an inch. 

Operating at a high speed, the CNS Swiss lathe is an ideal machine tool for manufacturing tiny parts with extreme accuracy, which makes increasingly preferred in large volume production of intricate, complex metal parts. CNC Swiss lathe holds the small materials firmly with a collet and a guide bushing. The lathe machine runs by feeding bar stock through the guide bushing which grips the stocks when they pass through the tooling area to perform a wide variety of cutting. In Swiss CNC turning machines, only the demanded portion of the workpieces will be moved to advance toward the tooling area. The stocks will be held stably in place, ensuring high accuracy during machining operations.


How Does CNC Swiss Lathe Work?


● Basic Structure:

As mentioned, CNC Swiss lathe machines hold the stock material in place with collet and guide bushing. The collet is mounted behind the guide bushing, and the stationary cutting tools are installed in front of the guide bushing, which is positioned on the Z-axis. The X, Y, Z-axis on all kinds of CNC lathes and machining centers are the linear operational direction; A, B, C axis, on the other hand, is the rotational direction which spinning 180 degrees around the X, Y, Z-axis on the 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis type of machining centers. These additional axes provide the operator with a more flexible and accurate machining operation. The Z-axis is usually aligned with the main axis of a CNC Swiss lathe.

In order to cut in desired lengths along with the workpieces, various cutting tools that are mounted on the Swiss CNC lathe machines will advance while the stock materials themselves can move backward and forward on the Z-axis. With the movements, the high-precision machining jobs can be performed on the surfaces near the guide bushing which is harder. With CNC control, the rigid guide bushing allows ideal cutting performance performed on slender workpieces which are gripped firmly to prevent any deflection and vibration from happening. 


● CNC System:

CNC, which stands for “Computer Numerical Control”, sends the programmed instructions that can efficiently communicate with Swiss lathes, shaping the complex parts and applying a broad variety of tooling onto the workpieces. CAD software, which means “Computer-Aided Design software”, is used to transmit a series of sequential commands to perform the cutting on stocks. Thanks to the software, the CNC system eliminates the need for manual adjustment by workers and supervision. Also, the invention of CNC achieves more simple operation as well as more dependable, accurate, efficient machining work. 

:: Read more: CNC Swiss Lathe - A Powerful Machine


Multiple Spindles in CNC Swiss Lathe

CNC Swiss lathes, compared to some general turning machines or other machine tools, can produce more complex parts such as parts with thinner walls or with additional delicate features. Modern CNC Swiss lathe machines utilize more than one spindle to perform high precision metalwork on complex parts. Most of the lathes use 1 or 2 main spindles and add 1 or 2 back spindles in the system. The back spindles are also known as secondary spindles or sub spindles, which are more and more commonly used today. 

The main spindle is worked with the guide bushing which was mentioned previously for the primary tooling operations. As for the secondary spindles, they are mounted behind the workpieces and are aligned with the Z-axis. Typically, the secondary spindles pick up the machined workpiece and accept them for further machining operations. Subsequently, the spindles will eject the finished parts into a bin. With the CNC control, the automatic operation removes the adjustment of operators including changing each part manually. The arrangement makes the Swiss CNC lathe machine greatly efficient, producing complex, tiny parts in very short cycle times. The CNC swiss lathes can manufacture simple components in one machining cycle, which takes about 15 seconds, without a second machine to finish the part with secondary operations. Thanks to these advantages, CNC Swiss lathe machines are popular machine tools for high volume production runs of very tiny and sophisticated parts with a small diameter.


Live Tools in CNC Swiss Lathe

In addition to the incorporation of sub spindles in CNC Swiss lathe, “live tooling” is also popular to be mounted with high precision lathe machines. The term “live tools” refers to the cutting tools which can be powered by separate motors in the spindle. This live tooling can further increase the accuracy of machining jobs in CNC Swiss lathe machines. For example, automatic drilling operation perpendicular to the Z-axis is significantly economical by using a live tooling instead of a secondary operation after all the operation in CNC Swiss lathe machines. In general, advanced Computer-Aided Design software (CAD software) utilizes and drives the live tools to allow manufacturing the complex parts and finish them perfectly in a single lathe machine.


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