A material as fascinating as it is difficult to machine

Titanium (Ti) is one of those metals which, by virtue of its properties, is all the rage in different sectors. Its numerous benefits are highly appreciated for parts in the aeronautics, medical or leisure sectors. However, machining this metal is tricky and often requires quite substantial machining times and expensive tooling.

Extinguisher required
Titanium is considered a metal with a high mechanical resistance and a good ductility in standard temperature conditions. Its specific resistance (tensile strength to density ratio) outclasses aluminium and steel. However, machining with this metal proves to be quite difficult.
One of the problems stems from the fact that when titanium is in its divided metal form it is highly inflammable. This means the swarf easily ignites. As a result, there is a genuine fire risk when machining parts in titanium. Tornos, with considerable experience in machining this metal, strongly recommends installing a fire extinguishing device on the turning machines in the event titanium will be machined. Naturally, Tornos equips their turning machines with such a unit as an option.

Suitable machine-tools and tooling
An additional major difficulty lies in the swarf formation. François Champion, sales director at tool manufacturer Applitec, explains: “The problem can be compared to that of stainless steels alloys. Based on our experiments, you need to look for the most suitable tool every time. One of the difficulties in machining titanium lies in the quality of this metal: The first time you may have an alloy making extremely long swarf which is difficult to break, the next time the machined alloy creates quite short swarf. “ This confirms the observations made by Philippe Charles, an expert in this field at Tornos: “Depending on the type of operations, the swarf is either long or short. The operator therefore needs to work with high-pressure lubrication and adapt the speed and cutting tools.” He adds: “In the event of short swarf, filtering the cutting oil becomes crucial.” François Champion: “There is no single type of cutting tool for titanium machining. In each case, the bar turner is required to select the right tool, based on the metal alloy and the type of operation. We assist them in this selection, of course.”
As the metal is relatively soft, it is easy to leave marks on the workpieces, an unacceptable defect in most cases. For Philip Charles, alongside high-pressure lubrication to remove swarf immediately and efficiently, a rotating or self-adjusting guide bush help solve the problem.
Both the machine-tools and toolings therefore need to be adapted to the task.
Important research in progress
As part of a project supported by the federal commission for technology and innovation (KTI), the Inspire SA institute – located on the premises of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (EPFZ) – is working very hard to find the solutions to the problems of titanium machining. The research is first and foremost focusing on milling with this metal, but Carl-Frederik Wyen, researcher and leader of the project, confirms:
“We also need to study the problems inherent to turning. »

Inspire AG
Dipl.-Ing. Carl-Frederik Wyen
CLA F 33, Tannenstrasse 3
8092 Zurich
Tel. 044 632 68 04
[email protected]

“New Eurotec” about to be published!

I’ve just finished the layout of the first issue of 2009 and the medical field for microtechniques is well represented, there are really added values stories. We’re about to go on print and there are a few free places to advertise.

“New Eurotec”
This issue is the first one with the “new layout” and I’m happy with it. I really hope that readers will be pleased with this evolution and I’m looking forward to hearing from them (you?). If you want to receive a copy, do not hesitate to contact me [email protected]

Good opportunities
Yeah, in term of advertising, it’s the right moment to show the world you’re present on the market and ready to help your customers and prospective customers win on their markets.. and Eurotec is a right plateform for any company active in the microtechniques.
Call now

Wanna use this highly targeted medium to reach your target? Nathalie is waiting for your call.
Nathalie Glattfelder, Tél. +41 22 307 78 32 e-mail: [email protected]

I wish you all the best

AMB 2010 postponed for one week

AMB 2010 will now take place from 28 September to 2 October 2010. According the organisators (January 2009), it is to balance out the competitive field and guarantee the usual extended construction and dismantling times.

Impossibility to “jump” from one show to the other
All in all it is a difficult period that we’re gonna face in 2010, usually a lot of companies show the same machines and material in AMB and just after in Bimu (Milano, Italy). Bimu will take place from 5 to 9 October. No need to say that it is virtually impossible for machine manufacturers to show their new machines at both shows (because we all know that most of the time new machines are not available more than for one piece, that is often even a prototype).

Manufacturers will be forced to make a choice between Germany and Italy according to their strategic visions.
I already know some people that will have to think twice before signing their booths.

Do not hesitate to share your thoughts about this!


Need more info about the shows (we have time!)



Procedure for procedure? Forget it!

I must admit that I’m not addict to procedures and administrative tasks. We all probably know some people for whom the fact that the small ok is in the right box on the form is more important that customer satisfaction.. that drives me crazy to see that. Nevertheless, quality insurance if well implemented is really an asset for those willing to clarify and rationalize production.
And guess what? Good news, there is a dedicated show!

All process steps under control
The 23rd Control international trade fair for quality assurance, which will take place at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre from 5 through 8 May 2009, has already come back into focus: Because continuing internationalization in the fields of production and assembly is drawing attention in particular to the issue of quality assurance.
Regardless of where and how intensively production is pursued, regardless of how well the employees are qualified and to what extent the manufacturing processes have been automated – to a greater degree than ever, it’s essential to keep all process steps under Control and not leave anything to chance. Thanks to its comprehensive, globally unique information offerings, the 23rd Control will qualify you and your company for both today’s and tomorrow’s quality testing tasks.

23rd Control – World Class Quality Assurance

More than 900 exhibitors and roughly 25,000 expert visitors from 78 of the world’s industrialized nations – these were the figures for Control’s successful premiere at its new venue at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre. Growth in exhibitor numbers, exhibition floor space, expert visitor numbers and internationalism document the tremendous importance of the Control international trade fair for quality assurance as a globally leading event for a market which continues to demonstrate strong expansion. Foreseeable economic stabilization will further intensify international competition amongst manufacturing companies from all over the world. The manufacturers and their suppliers are being forced to implement further streamlining measures, which include automation in the field of quality assurance as an essential constituent.

For the first time ever, Control 2009 will feature an information and communication platform on the subject of “Quality Assurance in the Field of Automotive”, a sphere of activity which is lucrative for all manufacturers and suppliers. Beyond this, the already strong area of “image processing” will also be further expanded due to the fact that it’s becoming more and more well established as part of the ever advancing field of automation.


Don’t be over-procedure oriented.. but if you think of implementing QI, do not miss Control early May.
Good day

Studer and Combitec merge their competences

The technological leaders in Cylindrical Grinding Machines, Fritz Studer AG in Thun and the Combitec AG in Biel will merge their competences with immediate affect. The integration of Combitec into Studer AG allows both Companies the chance to increase their market and technological position in the World Market. The Product ranges of Studer and Combitec complement each other perfectly.  Both Manufacturing facilities will remain where they are today, the Management of Combitec will continue to manage the facility in Biel.

Combitec AG
As per Stephan Nell, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fritz Studer AG, Combitec has in the Internal Grinding Machine product range excellent Machines and has a very large Know-how in this area. Through the International Distribution Network of Fritz Studer AG, the World Leader in Cylindrical Grinding, Combitec now receives an ideal platform to be active in the Worldwide Market too. In addition to this, Studer has the possibility to complement its product range ideally.
The Manufacturing facility in Biel will in the future become the Competency Centre for Internal Grinding. The Operative Management of Biel remains in the hands of the present owner of Combitec, Daniel Huber. In this connection, Daniel Huber stresses that the merger with Studer brings excellent growth potential for Combitec and in addition to this, also helps to secure the future of the facility in Biel.  Combitec AG, founded in 1982, manufactures High Precision Internal Grinding Machines. The main area of their development lies in Machines for the manufacture of small and medium sized components, especially in the area of hard Materials. With a combination of high precision machines, a specially developed operator Interface and the simulation software SimCT they offer their customers an economical, lucrative and technological proven Solution. Today Combitec employs in their facility in Biel, 40 people.

Fritz Studer AG
Founded in 1912, the company manufactures standard Cylindrical Grinding Machines with a wide assortment of accessories for External- and Internal Grinding Applications for small or medium sized Components. Studer and the Service Team Studer employ over 800 people in their facility in Thun and reached a record Turnover last year of 250 Mio CHF (incl. Service) .  For the next Years, Studer expects together with Combitec an additional strong increase in both Turnover and Order Input, especially in the area of Internal Grinding.
Fritz Studer AG belongs to the Schleifring group of companies of the Körber Group. Körber Schleifring stands for an internationally strong Partner for all areas of high accuracy machining of Components.

Combitec AG
Lengnaustrasse 12
CH-2504 Biel/Bienne
Tel: +41 32 344 04 52
Fax. +41 32 3410671
[email protected]

Fritz Studer AG
CH-3602 Thun
Telefon +41-33-439 11 11
Telefax +41-33-439 11 12
[email protected]

A know-how to meet highest expectations

With its growth prognostics widely shared by experts, the medical field is seen as an “El Dorado” by a lot of companies; but starting in this domain requires a know-how to face constantly growing demands in term of quality, complexity and productivity. Willemin-Macodel provides turnkey machining solutions to allow its customers to face these trends with serenity.

Always more complex parts
The machining centers of this builder are able to perform simultaneous 5-axis milling operations as well as turning operations up to 6,000 rpm for the MT machines (Mill/Turn) with 65mm diameter bars (518MT). Willemin-Macodel makes a difference with its MT product range— it can machine from bars or part after part; and it’s able to machine complex parts (dental implants, bone screws, spine, etc.) within a single cycle. This includes the back face thanks to a multiposition back-operation turret. Users can then finish polyhedral or revolving parts in one clamping.
Meeting flexibility
Complex parts machining often means a lot of operations, so it is important to ask for production machines offering such a potential but it’s equally important to have the flexibility to adapt the machine to the part that needs to be machined.  The MT series machines by Willemin-Macodel are designed to be flexible with their multifunction back-operation units, their 42,000 rpm motorspindles, their 6,000 rpm dividers, and their compact manipulating systems. The 508MT machining center is particularly well equipped with its 3-position turret that can simultaneously hold a back spindle (mill/turn up to 6’000 rpm), an auto-centering vice, and a tail stock. This elaborate technology gives users the ability to machine several different complex parts on the six faces without changing the set-up.

User friendliness AND possibilities
Set-up of a new part including fast grip and chucks changes, shaped bars fixturing, and tool life  management is done with ease. Optimizing set up times is easily done with the multi-grip chucks that can hold square or round bars without the user having to dismount anything in the holding system. This machine builder developed its own system to hold a wide range of bars (round, square, polyhedral) up to 65 mm diameter. The clamping devices are adapted to the customer’s requirement as well. For instance, implants in ceramic, non-annealed material that need careful tightening and that can be gripped on a short area only are perfectly held and machined.
[…] (more to be discovered in Eurotec 362).

This year, Willemin-Macodel will take part in the following medical shows: Medtec in Stuttgart (Germany) and Besançon (France), Medisiams in Moutier (Switzerland) as well as several shows in the the USA and in Asia.

Willemin-Macodel S.A.
Rue du Paddock 46
2854 Bassecourt
Tél. 032 427 03 03
Fax. 032 426 55 30
[email protected]

I know that it seems that there is only medical in Eurotec these days, its is due to the fact that the two first issues will be medical oriented to help people enter that market and win.
In issue 364 to be released early May, we’re going to publish a lot of things about microtechniques and watch industry… there are still a lot of business to do there and we’ll show you some help to enter these markets too.

Good day


You could be about to go into “technical unemployment” …

A provocative title which the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) hopes, in its flyer on REACH, to attract the attention of all industrial companies to this EU Directive which appears to be about to impose severe constraints. So what is it all about?

Reach – so what is really behind it?
The website of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, OFSP, provides this answer: ‘REACH is the abbreviation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals and also includes the restrictions applicable to these substances. This is the new EU Directive which aims to make the manufacture and use of chemical substances more safe within the EU.’
Reach entered into force on 1 June 2007 and relates to chemical products for which pre-registration by 1 December 2008 is mandatory at the European Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA), based in Helsinki. This mandatory requirement applied to known substances which were manufactured or imported in quantities greater than or equal to one ton per annum by the manufacturer or by the importer. Registration of new substances started on the 1st of June at the same agency.

Who is affected?
The ‘REACH’ Directive affects companies based in the EU which are required to request pre-registration of new products, or the registration of existing products in question. Swiss companies are affected if they export their chemicals – i.e. the products manufactured by themselves – to a country of the European Union.

Does this affect machining companies?
A bar-turner product (for instance) – depending on the description of that company’s activity – involves workpieces machined from (for the most part) metallic materials. To do this, bar-turners necessarily use products such as cutting oils or cooling fluids, and all these products can be viewed as chemical substances. After the machining operation, as a general rule, the workpieces are washed before being supplied to a customer. In such cases, the bar turner does not supply any product of a chemical nature, and is therefore not affected by REACH. In cases where the bar-turner is going to be machining synthetic materials, he is well advised to first contact the supplier of this material to ask whether a conformity declaration can be provided and, if not, can then press for one.
If a bar-turner then gets involved in assembling several components on behalf of a customer in the EU, or for a customer who will be exporting to the EU, that bar-turner may find himself affected by this Directive. This depends on the lubricant content, and the content of other chemical products in this sub-assembly. Depending on the case involved, it may be necessary to follow the same procedure as the machine manufacturers.

What about machine-tools?
The manufacturers of machine-tools are subject to the same Directive as any other producer. The decisive point is to know if a material or a product used in a machine – for example oils or greases – is affected by REACH and if the quantity exported in this case exceeds the official annual limit of one ton. To recapitulate: it does not matter if a product is exported directly or via an intermediary. The manufacturer involved must, if certification is not already provided by his supplier, must take steps to obtain written confirmation that the product (oils, greases) has been registered with the appropriate authority in Helsinki.

Doubt is permissible
This is relatively complex subject matter, something which even the specialists dealing with this subject are willing to admit. Doubt is therefore allowed. To learn more, the interested party can consult the OFSP website, or one of the other websites listed later in this article. Moreover, all manufacturers of related substances involved directly or less directly have been looking at this issue for some time and are now in a position to provide fairly accurate information on this question.
For example, the lubricant manufacturer Blaser SA is providing a specific e-mail address ([email protected]) where questions can be tabled on this subject. Motorex is another company willing to provide information through the following e-mail address: ‘[email protected]’.

Internet websites to consult:
http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/chemikalien/00531/02835/index.html?lang=fr (In French and German)
… and there are plenty of other websites out there.

E-mail address of Blaser SA : [email protected]
E-mail address of Motorex SA : [email protected]

Thank to  Robert Meier, freelance specialist journalist, Rupperswil for this point on REACH.

I don’t think this will directly affect machining companies, but what about the products they use? Will we see a reduction of the chemicals on the market? Does it mean that machining or cleaning will become more difficult due to reach compliants chemicals?

In case of doubts, don’t hesitate to contact lubricant companies (as mentionned here above) or also cleaning companies like www.amsonic.com

Good day


Pierre-Yves Schmid, publisher