Swiss Machining in 2022

The machining market is constantly growing at a steady pace. The projection is around 6 to 7% growth per annum for the next two years. Precision machining makes up most of the market size at 70% and is experiencing the bulk of that growth. Swiss machining is one of the precision methods that are growing in popularity.

It offers a unique opportunity for businesses who adopt it. Here’s some information about swiss machining, its inner workings, and future potential.

What Are Swiss Lathes?

TCM 38S

Swiss lathes are a newer form of precision manufacturing CNC machines. These CNC Swiss type machines are capable of producing extremely precise parts accurately and in succession.

Unlike a conventional lathe or traditional lathes, Swiss style lathes can turn and move back and forth. Traditional ones can only rotate in a fixed position. With more freedom of movement in the Z-axis, it’s capable of details other machines cannot manage. These features also allow them to perform different tasks, resulting in efficient operation.

The most common use of it is as a Swiss screw machine. In recent years, it has also become capable of producing components without surfaces turned.

Careers in Swiss Machining

There are several careers involved in the operation of Swiss machining.

Machine Programmer

At the very base is the Swiss machinist. They are the ones responsible for operating and configuring the CNC machine. Unlike older ones, most of the operations of Swiss automatic lathes come computerized. A machinist or machine programmer is responsible for making sure that it performs to expectations. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Studying drawings and inputting configurations in CNC Swiss machines
  • Operating the machine as needed
  • Inspection and measurement
  • Completing paperwork
  • Revisions

Operator

High precision production - Lights Out Manufacturing - KSI Swiss

The operator is another role essential for efficient Swiss CNC machining. They help verify the machine’s work and inspect the line for clearance. They also check components and are the ones that load the bar feeder onto the CNC lathes.

They are the most flexible role as they can change their duties as needed. As such, you often find operators capable of other responsibilities within the company.

Manager

At the top of the ladder of operations is the machining manager. Their priority is to ensure timeliness and high quality. While they may have similar tasks, they are often the ones coordinating with others. They are also responsible for the budget and are the direct connection to executive leadership in a company.

How Much Can You Make?

The average salary of a Swiss machining programmer is around $68,000 a year, while the highest earners get up to $90,000. Technical knowledge, skills, and training result in a higher salary than operators.

Operators can earn around $42,900 on average, which is over $3500 a month. The highest earners can get over $4400 a month. Unlike programmers, there is a lower barrier of entry for operators. Most of them only need a bit of training and experience to get work.

A manager earns around double that of an operator at an average of $80,000 a year. The pay raise does come with a lot more responsibilities. Managers are essential to ensuring operations run smoothly and issues are fixed. The highest earners in the manager role get around $110,000, or over $6,600 a month.

Future Speculation

With Swiss and CNC machining improving as a whole, demand will continue to rise. With the projected growth of 6 to 7%, many can expect higher pay offers. Trends are occurring in the country where some states offer higher pay than others. To truly maximize one’s earnings, one must be willing to relocate for the job.

What The Future Holds for Swiss Machining Businesses

Machining is advancing at a much faster pace than expected, fueled by development. One of the big reasons for this transformation is the implementation of artificial intelligence. AI can automate testing and collate data at a much faster pace with minimal error. What took years for researchers in the past only takes weeks or months today.

It is evident in the popularity of Swiss machines, a precise and versatile form of manufacturing unheard of decades ago. Now, you can place the bulk of the work on machines, making them a cost-efficient option.

The HMI

The HMI - Human Machine Interface

The current system works well because of how technology has bridged the gap between humans and machines. Smart technology created interfaces where one can interpret commands. Machine language converts into the human language, vice versa.

The most advanced Human-Machine Interfaces use real-time monitoring. Clients, employees, and executives can view the operations remotely, allowing them to collaborate. Newer interfaces can also warn operators of problems as they arise. Then, machines with AI can gather data to give managers an idea of the workflow.

From there, they can optimize the process by identifying weaknesses and bottlenecks.

Robotic Machines

Robotic Machine Loading - KSI Swiss
Automated robotic cell which includes CNC machining center and collaborative robot.

When it comes to repetitive tasks, robots excel. These machines are becoming more popular in workshops as they free up operators and programmers to handle other jobs. For most Swiss machine companies, robots are commonplace. They are the reason why the Swiss style lathe is a popular choice.

Newer models of robots can even work side-by-side with humans. They take over tasks but have other features that make them wary of interactions with people. They can move locations to avoid collisions and adjust their movements to accommodate people in their area. The expectation is that more of these advanced machines will surface in the years to come.

3D Printing

3D Printing Metal Parts - KSI Swiss
3D metal printer produces a steel part. Revolutionary additive technology for sintering metal parts.

An emerging interest among machining companies is the capability of 3D printing. While 3D printing has become integral in many industries, it’s a very new addition to manufacturing. In the field of medicine, a printer is capable of producing prosthetics and the like. In manufacturing, the integration of printing would mean more flexibility with work.

Additive Manufacturing or AM is the new term for this emergence. They can add components or reduce the processing steps for machining. They also lower the rate of costly errors. As of now, most of the advancements are in testing, so it will remain something to look forward to in the coming years.

Growth and Challenges

Swiss machining presents a lucrative opportunity, but it also means that others are looking to take advantage. Many mid-scale businesses are trying to break through into large-scale operations. As such, they are trying to lower the general prices to land customers. In response, other companies have also engaged in offering the lowest bids.

With materials and labor being the bulk of a company’s expenses, it pays to look into efficiency. Additive manufacturing is a start. With the industry growing, the expectation is that more innovations will come to help businesses flourish.

The future of CNC Swiss machining looks bright. The demand for products with precise dimensions and intricate parts is becoming the norm. Even with the competition right now, there is always space to profit.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/machining-market-to-reach-414-17-billion-by-2022--says-beroe-inc-300939464.html

https://www.ziprecruiter.com/e/What-Is-a-Swiss-Machinist

https://www.zippia.com/machining-manager-jobs/what-does-a-machining-manager-do/

https://www.talent.com/salary?job=cnc+manager