Swiss lathe style machining, named in reference to a Swiss watchmaker who invented the technique in the 1800s, is a unique machining technique gaining in popularity that presents some significant challenges for oil mist and smoke releases.
In this article, we discuss the unique aspects of the Swiss lathe style method in the machining industry, the challenges of oil mist and indoor air quality that it often creates, and methods for addressing these issues to keep your shop running at full capacity and top condition.
What is Swiss Lathe Style Machining?
Swiss lathe style machining is unique for its use of a slider to move parts along the longitudinal or “z” axis towards the guide brushing using a moving headstock for mounting. This approach ensures the part is fully stabilized yet capable of any rotation when brought into contact with the guide bushing.
This is different from conventional turning because of the mobile headstock (rather than fixed), the ability to rotate during cycles, and the ability to mount long and thin parts in the collet or “chuck” of the headstock. A fixed chuck feeds the part towards the tool, allowing for a variety of machining treatments to be applied along a single path, such as the intervals needed to produce threading. Improvements in the precision of programming make it an attractive choice for parts like medical equipment or military equipment where very low tolerance for variability is accepted.
Do Swiss Lathes Generate Heat and Oil Mist?
The customizable nature of Swiss lathe machining and the ability to deliver multiple cuts in the same cycle using rotations means that this technique commonly leads to heat issues with your parts and equipment. With so much cutting happening in a short period, it’s easy to see how it could get too hot.
Swiss lathes commonly generate a lot of high due to the high spindle speeds used to achieve high precisions, and there are a variety of applications being made in quick succession within a cycle due to the rotational abilities and mobile headstock.
Many of the advanced capabilities of a Swiss lathe that make it an attractive option for high precision parts also produce heat in the machine matrix, commonly treated with oil coolants. These coolants can produce sprays, mists, and vapours when deflected from the parts – these liquids remain in the air of the machine enclosure until cleared out. The emphasis of this technique on small, high-precision parts means that the enclosure is often smaller than other equipment, meaning that high oil mist and smoke that is generated accumulates and leaves faster than in more general CNC machines.
While enclosure size alone is not an issue, unfortunately, a lot of oil mist is generated due to the high spindle speed of a Swiss lathe intended to ensure high tooling precision. This spindle speed volatilizes the oil mist particles that would otherwise be mechanically displaced, leading to smaller vaporized oil mist particles. These oil mist particles are difficult to filter and are the root cause of your air quality issues.
What Coolants Do Swiss Lathe Machines Use?
The overview above demonstrated that Swiss lathe machines generate a significant amount of heat due to their precision techniques and that this is generally mitigated by an oil lubricant. The type of oils used for Swiss lathe machining requires further consideration due to their unique aspects. Swiss lathes will use thick oil lubricants designed to reduce the heat and friction generations by precision machining. Thick coolants have less emulsified water, resulting in splashes and sprays off the machine tools that are more concentrated. These thick oils quickly become sticky when heated and can create issues for your filters and equipment if not removed.
How to Remove Oil Mist From Swiss Lathe Machines?
Removing oil mist from the Swiss lathe enclosure requires an oil mist collector that can safely and efficiently filter out the sprays, mists, and vapors produced from the oil lubricants and the machining process. Conventional ventilation or filtration systems are not equipped to safely remove dangerous oil mists, meaning a specialized solution is needed that has sufficient air handling to prevent a buildup in the small enclosure while still delivering superior filtration. Aeroex has designed oil mist collector solutions that are highly customizable and built on the underlying science of the heat management challenges in machine techniques like Swiss lathes.
For machine applications like Swiss lathes where oil mist and smoke need to be quickly removed from the enclosure due to its size, Aeroex typically recommends the use of models like the Mist-Fit 550 or the ARO Series 600. All Aeroex oil mist collectors work to virtually eliminate mist, smoke, and fine particles, making them ideal for oil mist applications. Aeroex oil mist collectors use multi-stage separation technology to progressively remove oil mist with increasing filtration media. The primary and secondary stages eliminate up to 95% of oil mist through mechanical element filtration and mesh designed to promote the coalescing of mist particles. Aeroex products then use a depth loading fiber bed with a MERV 15 rating – unlike products that require frequent filter changes, the volume of filter media provided ensures that it lasts up to 3 years, thereby reducing your maintenance.
Custom Solutions for Swiss Lathe Style Machines
Aeroex solutions are customizable to the Swiss lathing application in question. Models like the Mist-Fit can be equipped with a fourth-stage HEPA filter to deal with very fine mists if needed, without compromising on filtration capacity. In cases like Swiss machining where heavy oils are being used, Aeroex may recommend a Pre-Filter Box – this is to capture heavier material early, which usually extends the life of your equipment significantly. In each of these cases, the solution we recommend will depend on factors like the type of oil you’re using. Ultimately, Aeroex understands that air needs to be moved quickly before sprays can stick to your equipment, but filtering too aggressively without primary stages could cause clogging in the filter.
Aeroex provides the right custom solution of progressive stages with optimal efficiency needs for oil mist collection in swiss lathe style machining. We aim to deliver the best value with made-in-Canada equipment that has a long life and saves you money in the long run, while delivering the superior performance you expect. Contact Aeroex today to learn more.