What Is Swiss Machining and Why Should You Choose It?

what is swiss machining

While 95% of new product innovations fail, there are actionable steps that you can take to make sure that you rise above this statistic. Exceptional prototyping is critical, as is accurate and speedy manufacturing for your product’s smallest parts.

Swiss machining is the best way to ensure that your new invention is successful even before it goes to market. But what is Swiss machining, exactly? Read on to learn more about this process, its applications, and its biggest advantages.

What Is Swiss Machining?

Swiss machining is a process that allows manufacturers to produce high-precision parts quickly and efficiently. In fact, it can create parts as small as 0.020” OD x 0.010” long. Swiss screw machines are the automatic lathes that produce these parts in high volumes. They are made from a hollow spindle and precision cams that move across a block of plastic to create many small, precise parts. They can work on multiple axes at once to provide speedier results. These lathes are controlled by a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) unit to ensure that all parts are made to precise specifications.

Other types of screw machines move the material that they are cutting and the tool at different times. However, Swiss machines move both at the same time to create a more precise cut. This is especially important for small plastic parts since being even a fraction of a millimeter off can result in a nonfunctional part. Swiss screw machines therefore are ideal for close tolerance as well as complexity. They can run different grades and types of plastic including nylon, phenolic, and Ultem. CNC screw machines also tend to have a plethora of secondary uses. They can slot, cross-drill, back-drill, and cross-tap materials. This eliminates the need for further machining. You will have a completed precision part as soon as it leaves the Swiss machine.

The Benefits of Swiss Machining

The core reason that Swiss machining is essential is that it allows for people to make complex parts. They are made specifically to produce intricate parts with delicate design features. A Swiss CNC machine is the best way to get thin-cut plastics as well as deeper cuts that traditional lathes could not generate. Additionally, the parts reduced are incredibly accurate and come into being without any defects. This saves you the need to compensate for potential inadequacies later.

Tight and Precise Tolerances

One benefit of Swiss machining is that it can maintain tight tolerances for precise cutting. In order for small parts to come out with the precision and care required for their applications, the machine must be able to hold the material tightly in place. Severna’s machines can hold tight tolerances of ±0.0005” for most plastics.

This means that there will be no unwanted movement during the CNC machination process and that all final parts will be perfect for their applications. Since we have a huge array of engineered plastics to work with, our Swiss machining process is ideal for anyone looking to get small lots of precise pieces or prototyping.

Computerized Functionality

Severna’s facilities offer high-speed tooling fabrication within company walls. Once experts enter instructions and data into the computer controlling the Swiss CNC machine, it can produce as many of the parts as the end-user orders. This no-frills process does not require human intervention, lowering the opportunity for error.

High Speed and High Volume

Swiss CNC machines have extremely short production cycles even when compared with standard CNC tools. This is because they make shorter movements and are quicker at cutting even in tight spaces. They do not take the same turret indexing times as other CNC machines do while still giving you the highest-quality result.

Lower Production Costs

CNC machines reduce energy consumption as well as production times. They don’t require as much electricity output and therefore cost less to run than other less-efficient equipment would.

Additionally, CNC machines are safer to use than alternatives, so you don’t need to worry about financial liability from accidents. These are huge reasons that Swiss CNC machining leads to lower production costs.

What Are Its Applications?

Swiss CNC machining has a plethora of different applications. It is often used for prototyping to ensure that the end-user gets a well-functioning prototype of the product design that they plan to market. It’s a quick way to get an inexpensive plastic prototype prior to ordering either small or large-volume batches.

However, it is also critical in making technological components. These components may only be a millimeter wide in some cases and make circuit boards, keyboards, and mobile technology function. They also are useful for optical equipment and some medical devices.

Automobiles and aircrafts also require very small precise parts to remain safe and functional. Swiss machining is the best way to produce these parts to ensure that there are no life-threatening accidents. Its applications are critical in these environments.

Regardless of your application, you can get machining done on dozens of types of high-quality plastic. This ensures that you can select the appropriate material for your prototype or part.

Get Started With Plastic CNC Machining

So, what is Swiss machining? In the most basic terms, it’s a way to create small parts used in a wide variety of applications. However, its impact is much broader than that – it’s a way to innovate faster, better, and more effectively.

Swiss machining remains a viable choice for manufacturing small parts in 2023 due to its unparalleled precision, superior surface finish, high efficiency, cost-effectiveness, versatility, and ability to handle complexity. Its benefits, including enhanced tool life, increased production volume, shorter lead times, and built-in quality assurance, make it an attractive option for industries that rely on small, precise components. As technology continues to evolve, Swiss machining will likely continue to advance and adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of the manufacturing landscape.

Swiss machining has been a tried and tested manufacturing technique for creating small parts for decades. In 2023, it continues to be a highly viable method for producing precision components used in various applications. Here are the top ten reasons why Swiss machining remains a go-to choice for manufacturing small parts:

  1. Unparalleled Precision: Swiss machining is renowned for its exceptional precision. The technique allows for tight tolerances and intricate designs, making it ideal for creating small, complex parts that require high accuracy.
  2. Superior Surface Finish: Swiss machines employ specialized cutting tools and techniques that result in excellent surface finishes. This is especially important for parts used in applications where smoothness and aesthetics matter, such as medical devices or high-end electronics.
  3. High Efficiency: Swiss machining is highly efficient, allowing for the production of small parts at a rapid pace. The simultaneous use of multiple tools on a single workpiece and the ability to perform multiple operations in one setup significantly reduce cycle times.
  4. Cost-Effective for Small Parts: While Swiss machines may have a higher initial cost compared to some other machining methods, they offer cost advantages when it comes to manufacturing small parts. The ability to produce complex parts in one operation, reduced scrap rates, and increased production rates all contribute to cost savings in the long run.
  5. Enhanced Tool Life: Swiss machining utilizes robust cutting tools designed to withstand the demands of high-speed, precision machining. The rigidity of the machine and the close proximity of the tool to the workpiece minimize tool deflection, resulting in extended tool life and reduced tooling costs.
  6. Versatility in Material Selection: Swiss machines can work with a wide range of materials, including metals like steel, aluminum, brass, and titanium, as well as various plastics. This versatility allows for the production of small parts used in diverse industries, from automotive and aerospace to electronics and medical devices.
  7. Complexity Handling: Swiss machining excels in handling complex geometries and features. With its ability to perform multiple operations simultaneously, such as milling, drilling, and threading, it can produce intricate parts with consistent quality and high repeatability.
  8. Increased Production Volume: The advanced technology and automation capabilities of modern Swiss machines make them well-suited for high-volume production. With the ability to run unattended for extended periods, they can churn out small parts in large quantities, meeting the demands of various industries.
  9. Tighter Lead Times: In today’s fast-paced manufacturing environment, minimizing lead times is crucial. Swiss machining offers shorter production cycles and faster turnaround times for small parts. This allows manufacturers to respond promptly to customer demands and maintain a competitive edge.
  10. Quality Assurance: Swiss machining incorporates built-in quality control measures. With the use of live tooling, automatic bar feeders, and advanced monitoring systems, manufacturers can ensure consistent quality throughout the production process. This level of quality assurance is especially critical for small parts used in safety-critical applications.

While innovating, creating, and marketing new products can be a challenge, CNC machination is a great way to get small precision parts made quickly and accurately. Now that you know the basics of Swiss machines, their applications, and their benefits, it’s time to get started.

Severna is committed to providing you with quality plastic parts at an affordable price. Request a quote for your project today to get started on your next big project.


David Taylor Digital | Digital Marketing Agency