Your Way or the Swiss Way


How it started?

The Swiss are known worldwide for their watchmaking prowess. As an advertisement for Zurich Airlines says, “Like shopping for a Swiss watch. Hard to make a mistake.” Mobile time pieces date back as far as the early 16th century, but thanks to one Swiss watchmaker, Jakob Schweizer, the watchmaking industry (and the entire era of modern manufacturing) was changed forever during the Second Industrial Revolution.

Nearly a century and a half ago, in 1873, Jakob perfected his prototype of the technology we now know as Swiss-type machining. These cam-driven tracing machines were the result of a promising new machining technology, the sliding-headstock lathe.

Indeed, Swiss machining was a revolutionary invention! In fact, it had a role to play in historical events such as the Second World War. The need for Swiss machined components increased so much during the War, that the US government got the details of the machines and produced copies of them in US factories. While these were not equal in quality to their Swiss counterparts, they were imperative to the war effort and soon hundreds of them were being built all across the US to support the demands of war.

The Swiss Edge
Swiss Machining is nothing short of a dream for the machinist.

Swiss-type machining is an all-encompassing manufacturing solution that combines milling and turning and is particularly adept at machining very small and intricate parts. It is different from advanced mill-turn machines, however. Swiss type machines have simultaneous rotation and longitudinal movement of the stock, while the tools, that are held radially around it, only move in and out. This allows for greater versatility in the type of machining.

Swiss Machining is a game-changing concept by itself, and with the helpful hand of SolidCAM, you have the perfect match. The need for a CAM system with Swiss machining definitely exists because manual programming of Swiss-type Machines is unproductive, error-prone and dependent on the programmer. Moreover, Swiss machines are very expensive and verification by simulation becomes important.

SolidCAM supports the most complex CNCs with unlimited number of axes and channels and is constantly evolving by adding various machine configurations and machining strategies to support the need of the hour – the need for cleaner, quicker and better designs.

The Complete Solution for Swiss-Type Machines

SolidCAM allows you to utilize your Swiss machine to the best of its ability. SolidCAM uses a unique Virtual Machine ID (VMID), which is a 1:1 digital copy of your machine, to ensure precise machine motion and kinematic alignment. SolidCAM has a comprehensive machine tool database that allows you to easily swap between your various machine configurations as per the requirement of the part.

You can use this digital twin to simulate the entire machining process and make sure there are no crashes or breakages. In addition to this, you can also use the MCO (Machine Control Operations) to control the machine for actions other than machining operations (change of tool for example). Another fantastic advantage we offer is Channel Synchronization. This automatically evaluates if multiple operations on different channels can be performed simultaneously and creates the machining process with the least cycle time.

Additionally, SolidCAM’s patented iMachining technology optimizes toolpaths with little effort required from the user’s side. In Swiss-type machining, it is essential to apply cutting tools engineered specifically for producing small parts. These have a lot of specifications – such as sharp edges, small nose radii and large clearance angles – that are imperative for the desired result. The iMachining wizard automatically generates optimal values for all cutting parameters, thus maximizing productivity.


The brilliance of Swiss machining is that limited stock is fed into the tool zone, thus providing greater stability to the material, resulting in a high-quality surface finish. They also include an incredibly powerful array of tool stations called turrets as well as spindles where multiple parts are simultaneously machined. These make it very useful for the following applications:

Medical Industry

Surgical screws and tools and dental implants are made to highly exacting standards

Aerospace Sector

Requires high precision parts with tight tolerances and exceptional surface finishes

Defense Sector

The precision of Swiss machining is useful for the manufacturing of firing pins in rifles and other firearms

Optical Industry

Optical parts such as microscopes and telescpoes use Swiss-type machines to get the required accuracy

SolidCAM is the best CAM solution with the added benefit of being directly integrated inside SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor. A major benefit of this integrated system is that the CAM automatically accommodates the changes made in the design. Moreover, no other CAM tool offers better customer service, training, or support than SolidCAM, and our team of Swiss experts have the knowledge and experience to help your business maximize production.

We look forward to hearing from you if you have any queries or wish to see a demonstration of the capabilities of SolidCAM’s Swiss solutions.