A pair of forceps for use in surgery.

1. SW precision machines are perfect for medical technology production.

A medium sized medical technology manufacturer with around 130 employees produces precise surgical devices using 5-axis CNC machining centers from Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH (SW).

2. SW machines can bring your production in-house.

A few year ago, this customer outsourced manufacturing and was under constant pressure to keep prices low, limiting growth opportunities. In 2017, they decided to take on an extremely challenging project: high-volume production of specialty single-use instruments for neurosurgery – modified bipolar forceps made of aluminum, which are needed in a total of 18 variants. When machining these instruments, the highest standards of precision and surface quality must be met. Bringing production in-house reduced costs and the challenges of working with multiple suppliers.

View into the working area with two spindles.

3. SW works with their customers to develop custom solutions.

SW worked with the customer to develop an efficient, space- and labor-saving solution centered around an automated BA 321 machining center, which mills the forceps halves. An oil emulsion ensures optimal precision and surface quality, resulting in dimensionally accurate workpieces with impeccably smooth surfaces. First, each forceps half is milled out of the face of an extruded profile, which is supplied in several dimensional variants. At the end of the process, the finished part is detached with a saw cut, eliminating clamping problems with extremely thin and delicate forceps halves. Special removal adapters prevent the halves from falling after cutting, preventing damage to the forceps tips. The parts are then sent through an unloading station for further processing.

4. Multi-spindle technology, short changeover times increase your production.

The changeover time for the customer’s workpieces is typically 10 minutes because of the similar dimensions and requirements of the parts. When the series is running, two finished forceps halves are produced every 3 minutes in the automated BA 321 twin-spindle machining center. The automation consists of a feed unit for extruded profiles and a tray for storing workpieces after cutting.

The automation consists of a feed unit for extruded profiles and a tray for storing workpieces after cutting.

5. SW supports their customers throughout the life of their machine.

After successfully delivering and commissioning the first system to the customer, ramp-up began in November 2018. Since March 2019, production has been running in a 24/6 operation, sometimes up to a week, without any interventions. With SW’s “life startUp” production support, the customer was able to quickly familiarize themselves with the operation and work independently with the machine. If issues arise, SW can access the machine online and provide a remote diagnosis with “life data.” Through “life help,” fast and competent consultation and service technicians are available when necessary. The customer is highly satisfied and is already using their fourth SW machining center.

SW is a leading supplier of machines, automation and system solutions: https://www.sw-machines.de/us.html