What’s a Swiss machine?

The invention of the Swiss style machining process is credited to Jakob Schweizer, a watch maker based in the Bienne, Switzerland region.  In 1872-1873, Schweizer perfected the first proto-type lathe equipped with what was already becoming an ingenious invention; the sliding headstock.  This feature assured simultaneous rotation of the material and longitudinal movement and radial tool holders carrying out simple backwards and forward movements. Swiss style machines were later developed and produced on a larger scale in the 1880’s by industrialist Nicolas Junker who founded the company Junker & Cie in Moutier, Switzerland.  Although the company has gone through many names changes it remains a viable machine tool manufacturer today and is known as Tornos, SA. The Bienne area today, remains a hub of Swiss watchmaking with factories of very well-known manufacturers such as Rolex, Swatch, Omega SA and military watch maker Glycine Watch.

Today’s CNC Swiss-style machines offer a range of machining advantages and capabilities. Static and rotating side and end-mounted tools cut within millimeters of the guide bushing, effectively eliminating overhang and part deflection allowing the turning of long parts with multiple diameters and without the need for end support (quill). Multiple axis and driven tools enable non-turning operations, such as milling, drilling and tapping. CNC technology permits the use of standard tool geometries to produce complex and non-round shapes as well. Twin-spindle configurations facilitate finishing of both ends of a part simultaneously, to some degree and this allows for quicker cycle times, in most cases.  In sum, these machines can produce small, precise parts complete in one chucking.

Teton and Citizen CNC Swiss machines

Teton Machine Company utilizes the Citizen CNC Swiss line of machine tools.  Our machine capacity is from 1/16” up to 1 ¼” for this style of machine.  All of our machines are equipped with magazine bar loaders, high-pressure coolant, live-tooling, sub-spindles and micro-inch offsetting capability.  In many instances we've been able to achieve tolerances of +/-.0001 and quite frequently hold a total tolerance of less than .0005.  The precision and repeatability of these machines allows us to run “lights out” (unattended) operations and assign multiple machines to one operator thus reducing labor costs.  Both of these options allow us to be price competitive and give us the flexibility to meet your quality and delivery needs. Our team of highly skilled machinists is ready to take on your most challenging parts with the accuracy, repeatability and quality you require.
In a Swiss-style lathe, a sliding headstock feeds rotating stock through a guide bushing, eliminating overhang and deflection.







In a Swiss-style lathe, a sliding headstock feeds rotating stock through a guide bushing, eliminating overhang and deflection.


L20E Installed in Our ShopTeton Machine Company has recently purchased and installed a new Citizen L20E CNC Swiss style machining center. This new machine is the seventh Citizen Swiss style CNC machine in Teton’s arsenal which also includes four Mazak CNC lathes, two Mazak vertical machining centers, one Haas vertical machining center and two Mazak horizontal machining centers which share a sixteen position automatic pallet change system.

Teton Machine Company utilizes Citizen swiss lathes. Because swiss lathes hold the tooling very close to the collet, they're capable of very tight tolerances and fine finishes. Teton's swiss lathes are equipped with magazine bar feeds for economical high production, gun drilling for tight tolerance deep holes and thread whirling for precision titanium work.