Swiss style turning machines are similar to CNC lathes or turning centers, but are faster and more accurate than traditional CNC turning centers. This is because Swiss Precision Machining allows milling, drilling, turning and tapping to be accomplished on each Swiss turning machine. Swiss Turning or Swiss Screw Machining refers to high volume production of miniature high precision cylindrical parts. These Swiss machined parts are often call micro pins or micro shafts.
Unlike many other types of screw machines, Swiss machines generate the features of the part by moving the material and the tool at the same time. Newer Swiss-type screw machines are CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled). Older machines were cam operated, so each different part required a new set of cams. A Swiss-type screw machine is an automatic lathe that has a sliding headstock and a guide bushing. The sliding headstock is the part of the machine that holds the bar stock (usually 12-foot metal or plastic bars) and rotates it (usually 1000-10,000 RPM depending upon the diameter and type of material). The headstock contains the collet, which clamps the material. The material is then fed through a guide bushing, which is usually made of carbide. The bushing is adjusted so that the material can slide through it, but tight enough to keep the material from flexing away from the cutting tool. The guide bushing allows Swiss-type screw machines to hold very tight tolerances. The cutting tools (brazed carbide turning or cut-off tools or insert tools) move in and out of the material to create required diameters while the headstock moves the material forward to create required lengths.