7 Axis CNC / Swiss Lathe

ASH® CNC Machining & Manufacturing

What Is 7 Axis CNC / Swiss Lathe?

There are a lot of different part production methods out there, but one of the oldest is still arguably one of the most effective - and that's CNC machiningCNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a metal part manufacturing production process. It's a subtractive process, meaning that a bar stock of metal is fed into a machining center, which then works to remove metal until the final intended part is produced. CNC machining is performed in machines that operate on a variety of axes. Generally speaking, the more axes a machine uses in its production operations, the more intricate and detailed the part. 

So where exactly does the Swiss lathe come into the picture in terms of 7-axis machining? Swiss lathes are automatic machines best used to create long, slender parts. The bar stock is then turned around the cutting tool, working until the part is complete. Swiss machines have roots dating all the way back to the 1800s, yet didn't gain more widespread traction until the 1960s. In the 1970s, Swiss lathe machines with CNC became available and soon became a popular technology for product developers in the manufacturing stage of development. They became the method of part production at first for the electronic and semiconductor industries. As technology progressed, it wasn't long before they became viable options for all industries, from automotive to aerospace to consumer products.

ASH has capitalized on its 30 year experience building some of the most complex injection molds in manufacturing in order to also bring our customers the added benefit of tight tolerance CNC machining.  Whether for secondary processes to complete a molded thermoplastic, rotationally molded, or Metal Injection Molded component, or creating a machined part from scratch, ASH has the capability to deliver a finished assembly and speed product throughput


Swiss Machine CNC

Swiss Lathe CNCSeven-axis CNC machining on the Swiss lathe is a common process for not only creating long, slender parts, but long and slender parts that are very detailed. The process is used to produce parts for a variety of industries and holds advantages over other processes like metal injection molding, or MIM, in that the end part is a 100 percent dense metal.

While processes like MIM and additive metal making processes have made strides in terms of part fabrication, many experts agree that the best method for getting 100 percent metal parts is via machining. Swiss machining combines two different manufacturing processes in order to make your product more competitive in the marketplace, by eliminating as much cost as possible.



ASH Swiss Lathe / 7 Axis CNC Benefits

  • State-of-the-art Equipment
  • Experts in the swiss lathe process
  • Strict Quality Checks & Control
  • Customer Focused Staff
  • Made in America

Why Use ASH Industries for CNC Machining & Manufacturing?

ASH has been in the manufacturing & engineering business for over 30 years, which gives us tremendous depth, experience & knowledge about all aspects machining. In our time helping clients with creating products and parts we've seen and done it all. Experience & expertise is important when it comes to manufacturing products - ASH can offer you deep insights into the best way to utilize the the ideal manufacturing process for your product to save you time, money and achieve success.

New Technologies & Capabilities:  ASH is constantly updating and evolving our manufacturing processes & swiss turning machines, developing new techniques for manufacturing that save you time and money bringing your product to market. Our innovative CNC swiss machining techniques mean you get quality, low cost parts and a quick time to market.

Made in America: ASH® is proud to do all our CNC machining in America, no outsourcing. Every point of our 7 axis CNC process is done right here in the USA, at our product manufacturing facility in Louisiana. We work with clients all over the United States and can ship products nationally and globally. 

Experienced Engineers & Project Managers: Our swiss lathe engineers have vast experience in manufacturing and helping customers bring their idea or product to fruition. We work hand in hand with you and ask all the right questions to give you the tools your product needs to succeed and do the job you designed it for in targeted environments.



Advantages of Using ASH® 7 Axis CNC / Swiss Lathe

Every process has its pros and cons. Here's a look at the advantages of ASH™ Swiss machining with a 7-axis CNC:

  • Efficiency: Swiss lathes are somewhat compact machines, so cutting operations take place quickly. Tool switch is done quickly and chip to chip time is often very fast too, allowing parts to be made faster. What's more is that such machines can be programmed to work autonomously, so they can produce parts at night or without 24/7 supervision.
  • Part Quality: Post fabrication finishing is often unnecessary when parts are created via Swiss lathes and 7-axis CNC machining. That's because the surface finish is of such quality immediately after part fabrication that no secondary finishing is necessary. The precision of such machines also allows extremely detailed parts to be fabricated.
  • Tooling: Many Swiss lathes can contain up to 20 different tools, which help create the part and also assist machinists in the first two advantage points that we listed here. Many lathes also come with rear sub spindles, which exist in the back of the machine and work away at other parts of the bar stock while the main spindle does its work.
  • Fast Setup Times: ASH fast set up times make lower cost projects possible, which - helps speed part fabrication.


Limitations of 7 Axis CNC Machining / Swiss Lathe

metal-latheHere's a look at some of the disadvantages of Swiss lathes with 7-axis CNC:

  • Cost: These machines are expensive. In fact, a Swiss lathe can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range for larger units. That cost makes it difficult for many product developers to do in-house machining, meaning that contracting with a provider is often necessary. While this isn't always a bad thing, it's one more person in product development that must be held accountable during part runs. ASH® runs and maintains all our own swiss lathe machines.
  • Waste: One big deterrent of subtractive manufacturing processes, such as this one, is that they're more wasteful than additive or injection molding ones. That's because material is cut away from bar stock - so there's bound to be metal scraps. While technology has advanced to the point where such metal scraps are becoming recycled to use for future product runs, the material waste is still perceived as a key con to the process.
  • Product Runs: Finally, another key disadvantage to this process is that it's not ideal for large product runs - it's best for short runs. That's because while the process is fast, larger parts are being manufactured and these larger parts take longer to fabricate.



pic-lathe machineSwiss Lathe Design Considerations

Swiss lathe machines come in various different sizes, but generally speaking are best used for longer, slender parts. For example, if your part diameter is 1.25 inches or less, then your part would likely qualify for this process. Other than size considerations, there's not a whole lot that this process can't do. It can create very detailed, intricate parts and it can create them well, as evidenced by the fact that little to no secondary operations are necessary after part creation.


Materials Used in Swiss Lathe

ASH is constantly working with a plethora of materials.  Materials like aluminum and steel are the most common, but more exotic materials can also be machined. Examples of ASH CNC & Swiss Lathe materials:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Plastic

For more information on ASH™ CNC & Swiss Lathe Machining and to determine if the process is right for you and your next part run, contact one of our specialists today. While this article is designed to give you an overview of the process, there's a lot more to subtractive manufacturing and this process specifically that you should know about when determining if it is the best for your next part run. Contact us today for more information.


About ASH Industries

ASH® Industries offers a wide range of product manufacturing solutions.

Our engineering knowledge, patience, technical expertise, and desire to please clients has led to consistent innovation. 

Connect with ASH®

1330 W. Willow St.
Lafayette, LA 70506 
Ph: (800) 598-5274 
Fax (337) 235-0971

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