A tool for growth

Visitors to the Siams trade show in Moutier certainly noticed the new Alfatool factory located on the Rue Industrielle, a few blocks away from the exhibition park. And if they were impressed by the quality that emerges from the building, what would say the lucky ones who had the opportunity to visit it? Meeting with Mr. Yvan Pratillo, the head of this dynamic SME specialised in the manufacture of cylindrical microtools (complete interview in our next issue).

Alfatool workshop with its new Rollomatic machine pool.
Alfatool workshop with its new Rollomatic machine pool.

The company, which this year celebrates its 11th anniversary, has just completed moving in this new ultra-modern building. Entering it, one feels that quality is a major concern within the company. The premises are sober, functional and quite impressive of quality. The Director tells us: “We are recognised for the high quality of our products and we are very pleased that it also emerges from our new premises”.

Fivefold surface
Questioned as to the reasons for this move, Mr. Pratillo is very clear: “We’ve passed from 500 m2 to 2400 m2, this will allow us to better manage our growth”. And if the machine pool is very impressive, the workshop may still be almost doubled. According to the needs, the production can work 24/7. Without additional investment, it can already meet a significant increase in demand. The company focuses clearly on the future.

…for demanding fields
The main activity areas served by Alfatool are watchmaking, jewellery, medical, aeronautics or microtechnology. Mr. Pratillo explains: “These days, customers are no longer having large stocks and responsiveness is one of the strong assets of Alfatool; we have a very consistent stock of 100% of our catalogue references”. Another important point raised by customers is the regularity of the quality of the tools. Users can be certain that all will be strictly identical, both in terms of geometry, surface finish and above all general tolerances.

Very sharp tools…
Alfatool has expertise in the realisation of high quality and finish micro tools; overview of the range:

  • Engraving mills from diameter  2/100 mm
  • Micro drills and center drills
  • Micro mills from diameter  8/100 mm
  • End mills
  • Slitting saws

The complete catalog of the company can be downloaded at this address:
http://www.alfatool.ch/images/stories/total.pdf

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Alfatool is present at EPHJ in Geneva (June 17 to 20, 2014) on the stand L09.

Alfatool_2

Alfatool
Rue Industrielle 44
Case postale 28
CH – 2740 Moutier
Tél. +41 32 493 73 10
Fax +41 32 493 73 12
[email protected]
www.alfatool.ch

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…brought to you by Eurotec-Online.com

 

High-tech for precision mechanics : new academic chair

The continuous optimisation of manufacturing processes for mechanical components is one of the key success factors of the Swiss watchmaking industry. While traditional machining and stamping processes will continue to play an important role, emerging technologies such as laser machining, 3D printing and plasma etching are pushing the current limits to new heights of quality and performance.

The EPFG building.
The EPFL building.

In order to capture this outstanding potential, Richemont and EPFL are creating an academic chair in “Multi-scale Manufacturing Technologies”. Richemont, a key Swiss player in the watchmaking and jewellery industry, will sponsor the activities of the future professor in EPFL’s Institute of Microengineering. The recruitment process has already started.

To stimulate innovation
Microengineering, and the watchmaking sector in particular, are essential components of the industrial landscape in Western Switzerland. EPFL’s stake in the Microcity Campus in Neuchâtel is a clear sign of its ambition to support innovation and academic research in this field. “The creation of this new chair with Richemont is totally in line with our overall strategy for the region. This collaboration will allow us to develop new technologies and stimulate innovation for a key economic sector in Neuchâtel.” EPFL’s President, Patrick Aebischer.

High quality parts
Multi-scale manufacturing combines disruptive technologies to produce high quality parts on any scale and at any level of precision. The integration of these new technologies in production will reinforce Switzerland’s leadership position in high-precision industries and high-end watchmaking. In particular, it will improve the performance and quality of watches, allowing for the use of new materials and enabling the fabrication of the most complex components.

Compagnie Financière Richemont SA
50, chemin de la Chênaie,
CP30
1293 Bellevue, Geneva,
Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)22 721 3500
Fax. +41 (0)22 721 3550
[email protected]
www.richemont.com

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Ready for the challenge

In the high-end watchmaking subcontracting sector, the constraints imposed on workpieces are very strict in terms of size, geometry and appearance, bringing tough challenges for manufacturers.
Cyberis
For many years, Cyberis has ridden this wave, with the company undergoing constant growth. It has also bought more than 20 production machines over the last two years, and plans to purchase several machines in the next few months. Interview in Bassecourt with Mr. Muriset, the young director of this dynamic company with a workforce of around 30.

Does this signal the end of cam-type machines?
Cyberis works with several different types of automatic turning machines, namely the Micro7, Micro8 and Delta numerical control models and 25 MS-7 cam versions. Mr. Muriset explains: “Although the operators are very versatile and able to work on cam-type machines, we are planning to replace our inventory of older machines”.

The quest for excellence
“We work for many of the major Swiss watch brands, in particular the very high-end names, and we can’t afford the slightest error. We simply aim for perfection”, explains the Director. Of course, this applies to bar turning machines, but also to the polishing department, the staff, the management system and the checking methods. The entire company is on a quest for excellence.

…by a dynamic team
All of the staff working to achieve excellence in Bassecourt are well aware of the stakes. Those we met identified fully with the company and were proud to be working for such prestigious customers. Mr. Muriset concludes: “We are a small, dynamic business working tirelessly to serve our customers. We have two objectives: to continue to build long-term partnerships with our existing customers and to develop our portfolio by attracting new customers”.

To be discovered at EPHJ in Geneva from June 17 to 20, 2014 on booth H24.

Cyberis SA
Rue St-Hubert 38
2854 Bassecourt
Switzerland
Tel. +41 324 270 060
Fax. +41 324 270 061
[email protected]
www.cyberis.ch

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…brought to you by Eurotec-Online.com

CAD for watchmaking at EPHJ

Hurni Engineering, the watchmaking CAD specialist in French-speaking Switzerland will celebrate its 30th anniversary at EPHJ 2014 in Geneva from June 17 to 20, 2014.

Imagine. Design. Create. Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services.
Imagine. Design. Create. Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services.

The company was founded in 1984, when the Swiss mechanical watchmaking overcame the quartz crisis and began to integrate computer technology in its manufacturing process.

CAD to the service of watchmakers
Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds and renowned for its knowledge of the watchmaking specialties, the company has contributed to promote and disseminate CAD softwares with local watchmakers and subcontractors. But Hurni Engineering is also known for having developed tools dedicated to mechanical design («MECAD» and more recently ‘invention-Tools Watch’), which increase the potential of the famous AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor softwares, which the company is a Gold partner.

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On the occasion of its 30th anniversary at EPHJ 2014, Hurni Engineering will present a new tool dedicated to the Autodesk environment.

Hurni Engineering Sàrl
Chemin de la Combeta 3
CH-2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds
Tél. +41 32 924 50 90
Fax + 41 32 924 50 91
[email protected]
www.hurni.ch

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…brought to you by Eurotec-online.com

Delcam enhances electrode solution and extends EDM equipment supported

Delcam has added a range of enhancements to its Delcam Electrode integrated solution for the design, machining and inspection of electrodes, and has extended the range of EDM equipment supported by the software.

Delcam Electrode integrates the design, machining and inspection of electrodes.
Delcam Electrode integrates the design, machining and inspection of electrodes.

The system has also benefitted from a number of new options introduced into Delcam’s PowerShape design software which provides the CAD element of the overall solution, in particular, the new option to merge fragmented faces into a single, continuous surface and so produce cleaner, simple electrode geometry.  This simplification makes subsequent operations, such as adding draft to complex regions of the model, much easier and also improves the operation of many of the direct modelling tools in the software.

For every brand
Delcam Electrode can now provide scripts for Exeron and JDMA EPX equipment as well as the previously supported AgieCharmilles (Agievision and CT Millennium controls), Makino EDM, Mitsubishi Electric, ONA EDM, OPS-Ingersoll, Sodick and Zimmer & Kreim.  Scripts are the EDM equivalent of CAM programs for machine tools.  They provide an automated process for the programming of the machine, instead of users having to program manually from a set-up sheet.  The automated process is much easier and quicker, especially when a number of electrodes are being used on the same component.  Furthermore, the direct link removes the human error that could always be possible with manual programming.

Better integration
In the 2014 version, the .Trode file is compatible with Windows Explorer.  This new option allows electrode geometry, set-up sheets and script files to be viewed directly from the .Trode file using Windows Explorer with a single click on the desired item. Data management has also been simplified with the option to output an electrode schedule from the software.  The data can be output in HTML, Excel or CSV format as a table describing each electrode required and its key data, such as blank size, undersize value, material etc.  This option will, of course, be of most value when large numbers of electrodes are required in a project, for example, for a complex mould tool.

For full details, please visit www.delcam-electrode.com.

Delcam plc
Small Heath Business Park,
Birmingham, B10 0HJ, UK
www.delcam.com

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SwissNano – The possibilities are endless

Despite its simple appearance, the SwissNano offers outstanding machining options and is the most flexible machine on the market. The machine owes its flexibility to a large range of options, but also to a good deal of ingenuity. Let’s see a few ones

The Top-Watch range is perfectly adapted to the SwissNano machine, in terms of both the 8x8 cross section standard insert holder system, with which watchmaking type inserts are compatible, and the Moduline solution. Indeed, Applitec offers its specific Moduline tool holder system to SwissNano.
The machine’s 6-axis kinematics offers numerical settings in all dimensions. All users find that the counter spindle, with its 3 linear axes, is very comfortable to use. In addition to the counter spindle, the second platten can house tools under the counter spindle, which increases the SwissNano’s machining capacity. Depending on the support, 2, 3 or 4 tools can be fitted under the counter spindle, enabling the machine to perform operations in parallel on the two plattens.

Simultaneous turning
This kinematic enables, for example, “roughing/finishing” operations to be performed, but that’s not all: it is also possible to turn and drill at the same time, to deburr and to hob, or even to support a workpiece during delicate operations. To help you make the most of the kinematics, Tornos has developed a series of devices to enable the SwissNano machine to handle a wide range of workpieces on delivery.
Balance shaft video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1xwDbUKH6A

Thread milling devices
Occasionally used as a polygon tool, but more often as a device for milling threads on small screws, this device can be fitted as a tool which can successfully perform thread chasing operations. It is possible to achieve very fine threads: during the Journées Horlogères open days, one machine produced a screw with a thread of S 0.5. To see this operation in more detail, go to our YouTube channel where you can admire the workpiece being machined up close.
Screw video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB6EL8Lq7qw

Gear hobbing
The SwissNano not only performs turning, milling and polygon operations; it can also perform gear hobbing. This means it can greatly simplify the value chain of your production and it is a very competitive solution for performing hobbing operations. Now this complex operation can be performed on a single machine. During the Journées Horlogères open days, a cannon-pinion and a sweep second pinion were machined. You can admire these parts being produced in the videos.
Hobbed cannon-pinion video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvaG4qwwZ5M
Sweep second pinion video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ5Avvs_wHU

Guide bush: rotating, fixed or none
The SwissNano is the only machine on the market able to make such a simple conversion; the machine can switch from working with a guide bush to working with a collet in a matter of minutes. The machine is simple to use: its TMI interface fully automates switching between using fixed guide bushes, rotating guide bushes, or no guide bush at all; simply select your preferred setup in the interface and the machine automatically makes all the settings for the operator. This option further reinforces the machine’s flexibility and truly makes it the perfect partner for machining small components requiring extreme precision.

High-frequency spindles
As a special modification, the SwissNano can be equipped with high-frequency spindles, in operation or counter-operation, as required by the parts. During the Journées Horlogères open days, we machined a double plate with two front-mounted spindles; this is one of the most difficult parts to produce on a bar-turner and, as you will see in the video, the SwissNano did a marvellous job.
Double plate video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci4iSWyr-Wk

Milling
In addition to high-frequency spindles, the SwissNano can also be equipped with 1 or 2 mechanical drills for performing drilling or milling operations. It is also possible to perform splitting operations on the SwissNano.

Foolproof repeatability and precision
The machine’s structure is designed to meet the most demanding needs of the watchmaking industry in terms of precision, repeatability and surface finishes. Thanks to its flexibility, the SwissNano is a competitive solution which effectively meets the needs of the watchmaking industry (amongst others), proving to be the perfect partner for producing any type of small part. The SwissNano may be small, but you will be surprised at its great performance and flexibility!

Mext opportunities to (re)discover the SwissNano?

  • GEWATEC 26th – 28th June
  • IMTS 8th – 13th September
  • AMB 16th – 20th September
  • BIMU 20th September – 10th October
  • PRODEX 18th – 21 November

Tornos SA
Industrielle 111
2740 Moutier
Tel. 141 32 494 44 44
Fax: +41 32 494 49 07
[email protected]
www.tornos.com

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New cleaning machine generation at parts2clean 2014

An all-new machine concept developed for cleaning parts with aqueous media is presented by Dürr Ecoclean at this year’s parts2clean from June 24 – 26. Key features of the innovative EcoCWave include its universal application capability, ranging from coarse to fine cleaning, plus minimized space requirements. Equipped to optimize cleaning quality while cutting per-unit costs, the new all-round talent from Filderstadt also sets new standards in terms of visual appearance.
workpieces in water
The media used in wet chemical cleaning of parts and surfaces are often water-based. Depending on the task on hand, they may be formulated as acid or neutral or alkaline cleaning fluids.  Application levels may range from coarse to fine cleaning. But regardless of whether the aim is to remove coarse contamination between or after machining operations or to meet defined cleanliness specifications, the cleaning process must be carried out rapidly and in a cost and energy-efficient manner. In developing the EcoCWave system, Dürr Ecoclean’s engineers therefore focused on just these requirements.

High operating flexibility plus low energy and space demand
The new single-chamber system provides maximum flexibility when it comes to batch sizes. Its technical features ensure that the specified cleaning result will be achieved quickly and with minimum energy input. Per-unit cleaning costs are further reduced by a series of measures geared to boost the system’s process reliability and enhance its user friendliness.

Apart from its exceptional performance, the EcoCWave distinguishes itself by its low space demand – the engineers of the Filderstadt-based equipment manufacturer have managed to reduce its footprint to a minimum. With its attractive design, the new cleaning line also represents a visual highlight. Replacing its precedessor model Universal 81 W,  the EcoCWave will be premiered at parts2clean 2014 at Dürr Ecoclean GmbH’s stand in Hall 5, booth C 18 / D 17.

Dürr Ecoclean GmbHparts2clean
Mühlenstrasse 12
70794 Filderstadt
Germany
Tel. +49 (0)711 7006-0
Fax +49 (0)711 703674
www.durr-ecoclean.com

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…brought to you by Eurotec-Online.com