Automatic lathe can boast some all-American touches.

Position:Swiss turning

Two engineers from Rem Sales, the North American importer of Tsugami machine tools, approached the OEM a year ago with some customer feedback. The goal was to design a new Swiss-turn automatic lathe for the North American market. From that feedback evolved the SS-20.


"There were several items on our list of machine design parameters, and these were based on first-hand feedback from our customers," says Ron Gainer, head engineer on the project.

"Item number one was a roomy work area. It's typical to see a gang-type Swiss machine with a very small interior. The tooling is cramped, and often the first thing I hear from an operator is, 'I can't get my hand in there.'

"And the first thing I hear from people when they look at this machine is, 'Look at the amount of space between the main and sub-spindle!' An operator can get his hands and shoulders in there, too, which is important when you are maneuvering around, changing tools, and so on."

Flexible tooling

In addition to roominess, tool modularity is another leading-edge strategy with new Swiss technology. As shorter runs pervade, machine operators need to change part runs quickly. Sometimes the parts are vastly different from each other, requiring completely dissimilar tool setups.

The SS-20's standard main spindle configuration includes seven turning tools, five cross-rotary tools, and five ID tools, while the standard sub-spindle setup includes four ID stations, two face drills, and two cross-rotary tools. Quick changes can be made to the configuration of main and sub-spindle cross rotary, ID, and turning tools, allowing for efficient machining of a greater variety of parts.

Thread whirling, polygon turning, and angular face-drilling operations are possible with an adjustable face-tool attachment.

"The modular concept allows removing a tool and replacing it with a different kind of tool," says Gainer. "The user can take a whole spindle out and insert a totally different spindle in a completely different position; so, for example, he has face-drilling capabilities instead of cross-tooling capabilities. Live tools can replace stick tools. Tools can come out of the back slide and go into the front slide. It actually functions more like a turret machine in that way, which significantly expands capability."


The nomenclature for the SS-20 indicates 20mm diameter capability; however, the machine is built on a 32mm flame--another American suggestion--providing the...

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