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Posted on Sep 24, 2020
CNC Swiss Lathes are automated lathes that can machine turned parts. The term "screw machine" can be a bit confusing as they do not actually screw anything or necessarily thread the materials, although this is one of their functions. They basically machine parts by turning on a very fast spinning lathe that cuts the metal to the desired size.
There are two types of screw machines: turret and Swiss machine. The Turret type, also called Brown & Sharpe from its first manufacturer, clamps the workpiece on a vertical slide that runs in a lathe. The Swiss type, named after its place of origin where watchmakers used it for precision components, fixes the workpiece on a rotating slide. While the two types work differently, their advantages and performance are essentially the same, although the Swiss screw machine is better at more precise work.
:: Read more: A Quick Guide to Swiss Type CNC Lathe
A Swiss type CNC lathe is a turning center that was originally developed for the Swiss watch industry in the late 19th century. Over time, these machines have evolved to get tons of extra, complex, precision parts. Unlike conventional CNC lathes, where the part is stationary and the tool is moving, the Swiss turning center allows the part to move along the Z-axis while the tool is stationary.
Offering a range of advantages and capabilities, Swiss-style CNC machines have become increasingly trusted across the industry due to (largely) their versatility. With the many Swiss lathe manufacturers out there in the market, companies also have plenty of options for which machines best suit their production needs.
There are two main types of Swiss screw machines: automatic and CNC. The automatic screwdriver works with a disc cam that rotates the tools into the cavity of the workpiece. The sleeve holds the workpiece in place. The disc cams move the tools in a radial motion, but also reposition the headstock to accommodate longitudinal deviations from the workpiece. The automatic Swiss screwdriver machine has very close spindle clamps which avoids the problem of multiple deviated contamination.
CNC Swiss Lathes, also called CNC lathes or lathes, operate largely on the same principle as an automatic Swiss screw machine, except that the operation is controlled by a CNC unit. Due to the increased direction provided by the CNC, these lathes can have more sets of tools, allowing the machine to perform several operations on the same component in less time. Automatic Swiss Screw Machines can also do a few operations, but lacks the precision and swiftness as a CNC unit. A CNC Swiss screw machine can rotate a part at up to 10,000RPM at an accuracy level of 0.0002 to 0.0005 inches.
Both automatic and CNC Swiss Lathes are relatively cost-effective for longer projects, because when properly tooled and program-oriented, multiple machines can work under the supervision of one operator. This low variable increases the attractiveness of the Swiss screw machine, although the set-up time can be up to an hour, so the fixed costs of shorter projects may balance out for a different tooling process. At the same time, Swiss screw machines are able to perform more precise work due to the tight, tight quarters of the collet, workpiece and tooling, so many factors are involved in choosing a process.
Tower-type screw machines give very similar results to Swiss-type machines, although the difference in precision is seen above. One of the advantages of a Swiss CNC screw machine is that many more tool holders can be used and although screw machines are usually a "single spindle", double spindle machine. This time-saving feature effectively eliminates the operator as the part is automatically moved from the nutrunner to the other machine for additional operations that would normally be the responsibility of the operator. Tower type screw machines are equipped with a transfer attachment which can also perform this function.
Current Swiss style screw machines, of both types, are common in the automotive, IT and consumer electronics industries. High-quality designer of Swiss watches, initially developed and using Swiss-style machines, and accuracy and delicacy are valued in many facilities. Due to short production times and low variable costs, as well as largely unattended production methods, Swiss screw machines can produce large numbers of small, precise parts relatively quickly at low cost. As Swiss machines can handle both exotic and common metals of different strength and composition, they are widely applicable and feature as integral processes in many different industries.
It looks like you can't go anywhere in the precision manufacturing industry without hitting the buzzword of Swiss machining. Its popularity has increased in recent years as more and more manufacturers decide to include Swiss-type CNC lathes in their production processes.
We found many manufacturers interested in this ongoing trend. If that's the case for you, here's some proper insight into why Swiss-style lathes have become so popular, and whether using a Swiss machining facility could be a smart addition to your supply chain.
You probably realize that the long, narrow parts are compared to theirs width are subject to deflection during the machining process. One of the major benefits Swiss machines can provide is the ability to manufacture parts up to a 20:1 length to width ratio. This is achievable because the cutting is done within a few millimeters of the guide bushing that supports the bar. This method of close cutting increases the lifespan of tools, while enhancing accuracy and providing better stability. These powerful features allow tight tolerance parts to be readily and repeatedly produced.
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