Swiss-style lathes are great for long and small parts, but they're also helpful when machining complex parts. The main feature of Swiss machines that stands out above fixed-stock machines is their B-axis tooling. The B-axis allows you to machine complex parts, cut hard-to-reach surfaces, and even expand your tooling capacity for more radial and axial work.
Machine Complex Parts
When people think of barfed parts, they usually envision firing pins, electronic fixtures, and other objects with a longer length::diameter ratio. However, Swiss tools offer the ability to mill complicated parts with live tooling. Recently, intricate parts that look as though they would primarily be created in a traditional lathe have transitioned into products of the Swiss world.
In a traditional 3-axis environment, many tasks required for a part with a complex shape would justify using two or more machines based on tooling needs. The B-axis on a Swiss lathe can mill a surface at any programmed angle, unlike on a turret with fixed-angle live tooling. It also comes in handy when doing contouring on your part.
Backend tooling allows the machine to simultaneously run OP20 and shorten cycle times by splitting the work between the front and back spindle. B-axis tooling on both spindles allows nearly all parts to be complete in a single operation, which is necessary for high-volume production.
Expand Tooling Capacity
Say you don't need to machine angled surfaces or create contours. How can a B-axis machine improve your operation then?
Increased tooling, plain and simple. NomuraSwiss machines typically have 4-5 tool locations on the B-axis that you can fill with redundant tools or additional tools for completing radial and axial work. The NomuraSwiss NN-20J3 XB offers a front and back "double" B-axis, providing tooling locations for both front-end and back-end work.
Redundant tooling is necessary for high-volume production. A broken tool results in unwanted downtime while your machinist replaces it. This possibility increases when you have to use tools as small as 9μm, so having extra spots for tooling is nothing to ignore.
Complex parts usually increase the tooling requirements, which could present many obstacles, including tool-changing times and the need for another lathe. Choosing Swiss with B-axis tooling eliminates these obstacles by giving you more tooling capacity with virtually no tool-changing time. Buying a single Swiss machine potentially decreases your initial investment and offers a smaller footprint in your shop.
Watch the NN-20J3 XB in action in the video below.
The NomuraSwiss Advantage
NomuraSwiss machines offer more stability and rigidity than other Swiss machines due to their design. The B-axis on most Swiss machines is supported only on top, but NomuraSwiss machines support the B-axis on both the top and bottom, maintaining rigidity and decreasing the margin for error.
Want more information on how a B-axis machine can benefit your operation?