Efficient machining of tungsten

With an important specific weight of 19.3 kg/dm3, tungsten is used in watchmaking for the realization of oscillating weights, in medical where its density makes a much better insulation than lead and in aeronautics where its high resistance to heat (3200 degrees) makes it ideal for strategic functions. With more than 6.5 million oscillating weights produced each year, Zürcher Frères located in the small village of Les Bois (Jura/Switzerland) is partner of any Swiss watchmaker. Meeting with Mr. Jean-Paul Vaucher, responsible for the production and Emil Zürcher, Director.

Always looking for rational and innovative solutions, Zürcher Frères realizes sintered shaped blanks of oscillating weights and finish them on the 137 machine.

In this post, we look specifically on the machining step of sintered shaped washers. The company works with 17 Schaublin 220 lathes and played the role of test customer for the new Schaublin 137 turning/milling center.

25% more productivity
“We have very good relations with Schaublin Machines and we have agreed to test the new 137. After more than 6 months of activity, we are delighted, the machine is much more stable and precise than our old machines and we produce 25% more parts” explains Mr. Vaucher. He adds: “We realize large series and this machine is much simpler to automatise, we easily added a robot on the left side and we use a position of the turret to fetch the part and load it into the spindle. It’s simple and effective”. Mr. Zürcher says: “As for every prototype, we had to deal with some problems of youth, but they were quickly resolved and we are very pleased with the efficiency, simplicity and precision of the machine”. At such a point that the company is considering the gradual replacement of all its 220 by 137 turning/milling centers!

Extreme machining conditions
“Tungsten is very difficult to machine,” says Mr. Vaucher which adds: “We need a very rigid and powerful machine and the Schaublin 137 is perfectly suited”. But it is not rough operations only that are realised. The machine is able to perform all the operations to the very small details of milled decoration in X, Y and Z. Mr. Zürcher addds: “Regarding accuracy, the machine is outstanding; the temperature stabilization system is very effective”.

Zürcher Frères SA
Route de Biaufond 8
CH – 2336 Les Bois/JU
Tél. +41 32 962 50 00
Fax +41 32 962 50 09
[email protected]

Schaublin Machines SA
Rue Principale 4
2735 Bévilard
Tél. +41 32 491 67 00
Fax +41 32 491 67 08
[email protected]