Aztalan Engineering uses machining automation technologies such as robots and a pallet system, as this article describes—but there is even more automation going on in this shop. Another automated system is the shop’s bar-fed Swiss-type lathe. While the bar feed loads work in a way that is less visible than the shop’s other workhandling devices, the bar-feed/Swiss-type combination is an equally valid approach to realizing unattended production.
Machining parts complete is the key to using the Swiss-type as productively as possible. One part, the surgical trocar seen in the photos, has a sharp point that Aztalan formerly had to send out for grinding. This added time and cost to the process, not to mention the complexity of sending parts to a supplier. Recently, Aztalan improved its process by engineering a way to machine this point within the Swiss-type lathe’s cycle.