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CNC Swiss Machining Vs. CNC Vertical Machining

Oftentimes, customers in need of our services have questions about the difference between CNC Swiss machining and CNC vertical machining. They wonder how similar they are, and which is right for them. While there are distinct advantages and applications for both, they are actually completely different processes, and choosing which one depends on the specific job.

CNC Swiss machining involves the use of a Swiss-style screw machine, running off bar stock to typically create a cylindrical part.  Specifically, there is a 12-foot bar behind the machine, with automatic bar loaders in which 15-20 bars can be placed and fed through the machine. The tools are machining as the bar is pushed forward through a guide bushing. On a particular machine, there are numerous tools and multiple axis’ that can be used to complete the part. With this kind of complexity, there are not many parts that cannot be finished complete off the screw machine.

Low volume, from 1000 pieces to high-volume production can be done through this process. This service is utilized by many industries, from automotive and aerospace to fiber optics and electronics. Processes include drilling, turning, milling, boring, knurling, and many special processes (deep hole drilling, threading, hobbing, etc.)

Alternatively, vertical machining is done for piece parts, and can be used for any volume of parts, from prototypes through heavy volume. This process involves machining forgings, castings, plates or blocks of steel. For higher production, special fixturing and palletizing systems are manufactured to facilitate the volume efficiently. Tool changers in the machine store multiple tools, and the machine picks a tool for the operation, puts it back, picks the next tool and repeats the process until the product is machined to a finished state.  Fixtures can hold any number of parts from approximately one to forty.

Vertical Machining is used often for the medical/dental industry (dental instruments, surgical devices, etc.), as well as electronics, aerospace, automotive, and many more. Processes done include drilling, milling, boring, contouring, and counter-boring.

We can expertly perform each of these services to the highest quality and tightest tolerances—and we can help guide you to which is best for you.