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Swissline Precision Mfg., Inc.
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CNC Swiss Turn Specialist Turns Out Aerospace Parts with Stringent Requirements
CUMBERLAND, R.I.--Precision machining of various custom parts--many of them manufactured on state-of-the-art CNC Swiss and Okuma turning centers--is all in a day's work for Swissline Precision Manufacturing. In business since 1965, Swissline Precision specializes in machining high-quality parts for industries that include medical, electronics, hardware, and aerospace. The company operates a modern 36,000-square-foot plant in Cumberland, R.I., with 53 full-time employees, and is currently certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 for medical devices. In its work for the aerospace/aviation industry, the company is a tier-2 supplier that handles subcontract work for other contract manufacturers.
"The next certification that we're going for will be for aerospace," says Mike Chenevert, manufacturing engineer at Swissline Precision. "Although we make component parts for aircraft, the companies we work for in aerospace seldom disclose what the parts will be used for. We deal with a lot of close tolerances and exotic engineered materials, like Inconel®, Hastelloy®, Alloy 52, and titanium. These exotic alloys are important for aerospace and aviation work because they have high tensile strengths, and high heat and cold temperature capabilities."
Swissline Precision (www.swisslineprecision.com) uses CNC Swiss turning and standard turning and milling equipment to turn out an abundance of precision parts and components, including cable connector ends for fiber optic components that go into a satellite. These parts need to be completely burr-free and highly polished. Swissline also makes cylinders that control the hydraulic flaps on airplanes, and rivets that hold together important structures.
"We do parts that are as small as 1mm, up to parts that are 1.5 inches in diameter, so we can do a wide range of part sizes with our Swiss machines," says Mike Chenevert. "We can also make larger parts with our standard machines, with an 8-inch chuck."
Some of the alloys, such as beryllium copper, are used for small components on circuit boards for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition to being extremely small, the parts have very stringent tolerances. "You can fit thousands of these parts in your hand because they're so small," notes Chenevert. "They have a 0.006 slot, a 0.0020 ID groove, and a 0.0030 hole in the part. During machining, we spread out the fingers on the parts. We send them out to be heat treated and gold-plated, since the conductivity needs to be very high."
Swissline Precision President David Chenevert cites the company's "full understanding of customers' requirements" and ability to immediately respond to their needs as major advantages that it provides to manufacturers in the aerospace/aviation industry. In addition, he says, the company's knowledge of how to manufacture precision component parts in the aerospace environment goes back some 25 years.
"We are a U.S.-based aerospace operation with extensive knowledge of aerospace materials and processes," he says. "Our experience and continued investment in the latest CNC-Swiss equipment to produce components with very tight tolerances and exotic materials, our use of continuous improvement, and our MRP system and lean initiatives to reduce cost and overhead, allow us to compete with overseas manufacturers."
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