Swiss-style machine makers are improving designs to expand applications for medical device manufacturing. Advances in Swiss-style machining include hybrid technology, improvements to CAM software, and multi-axis machining capabilities.
In particular, hybrid technologies, multi-tool and multi-axis machines are making inroads to improve manufacturability of medical parts.
For example, Tsugami Rem Sales (Windsor, Conn.) offers advanced machines with seven axes and is improving the technology. At the recent Westec show in Los Angeles, Rem Sales featured a new 9-axis machine shipped directly from Tsugami Japan.
“This machine is so new that we haven’t had the chance to operate it to its fullest potential yet,” Tsugami/Rem Sales Vice President Mike Mugno says. “Over the next few months we’ll perform a variety of test cuts on it and give it a really good workout. We like to completely understand a machine and know everything it can do before we begin offering it to our customers.”
The BW209Z is a split-slide CNC precision lathe. The 20 mm capacity Swissturn boasts a 10,000 rpm main spindle speed, and a 12,000 rpm back spindle speed. It can house 28 tools, and is equipped with a Fanuc 31i-B CNC.
“The benefit of a 9-axis machine,” Tsugami/Rem Sales Regional Manager Ron Gainer explains, “is that it has three cutting tools, all cutting a single part simultaneously, and all three tools have independent feed rates.” This means shorter cycle times, which all part manufacturers continually strive for.
Multi-axis capabilities are particularly suitable for manufacturing bone plates, for example. This video shows how lathing a complex bone plate is simplified with a 5-axis machine.
Another advance that benefits the med-tech business is the development of hybrid Swiss-style machines. Tsugami’s S206 LaserSwiss, is an integrated Swiss-style machine and lasing system. Tubular shaped medical parts are typically machined on a CNC lathe, then transferred to a laser cutting machine to create specific features, like window cuts and spirals. The LaserSwiss was designed to allow all features to be produced on one machine with a single part set up. Hybrid machines like these have reduced combines setup and cycle times by as much as 500%. You can check out Tsugami’s promo video of the S206 to see the machine in action.