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Task:
To have greater flexibility in production and a reduction in rework operations, to allow the complete machining of the part on a single machine.

Solution:
The Tornos MultiSwiss 8x26 multi-spindle lathe with its FANUC CNC control combines user-friendly operation with a very high level of precision, reliability and efficiency in high-speed machining. In its most advanced version, the 30i-B CNC has 15 channels for 96 axes, including 24 spindle axes. Preventive maintenance and Dual Check Safety functions are also integrated.

Result:
The FANUC 30i-B CNC is the most powerful of the range of high-performance nano CNCs, specially designed for complex machine tools. With more than 300 MultiSwiss multi-spindle lathes worldwide, Tornos confirms that the numerical controls, drives and the FANUC organisation meet the expectations of its demanding customers.

For the most complex applications, the FANUC 30 i-B digital control provides the most advanced solutions. This visit to a Swiss bar turner, and a customer-test for the Tornos MultiSwiss lathe, is proof of this. 

CNC Flexibility and FANUC international service

Today, G&Y Leuenberger employs around 40 people in Eschert. Its main markets involve precision engineering, testing equipment, connectors, luxury goods, watchmaking and bathroom fittings. About forty sliding headstock machines, of which 25 are equipped with numerical control, constitute the machine stock of single-spindle lathes “Fanuc digital controls have a strong place in our company, as they bring great flexibility to our production,” says Boris Leuenberger at the beginning of our interview. 

“The introduction of CNC machines has enabled us to reduce repeat work, in order to completely finish the parts on a single machine”  explains the young manager

The geographical and cultural proximity of manufacturer Tornos led to the development of a solid partnership between the two companies. Thus, G&Y Leuenberger naturally became one of the test clients for the prototypes of the new high precision turning machines created by the engineering and design department at Moutier. Fanuc Switzerland, which celebrated its thirty-year anniversary last year, immediately became the leading technological support in this agreement. Brice Renggli, Marketing Management and Competitive Intelligence Manager at Tornos SA, highlights the quality of the partnership between Tornos et Fanuc: “For thirty years, Fanuc Switzerland has always supported us in the development of our CNC machines, guaranteeing a seamless service to our customers,” he says. Therefore Fanuc, G&Y Leuenberger and Tornos were brought together around the test phase of the MultiSwiss 8x26 n°3 multi-spindle lathe.

The multi-spindle lathe is the most productive means of production at G&Y Leuenberger.

FANUC motors are subjected to very difficult working conditions in the production chamber of the Tornos MultiSwiss multi-spindle lathe. Note the excellent ergonomics of the lathe, allowing easy access to the work area.

The reliability of Fanuc equipment has long been proven, according to Brice Renggli, in addition to an international service that tracks the oldest to the latest machines all over the world. “At international exhibitions, for example, Fanuc provides spare parts for the machines on display and ensures the efficient presence of its technicians at our side,” he adds. 

The beginning of a revolutionary innovation

In 2016, Tornos successfully expanded its line of MultiSwiss multi-spindle lathe. Three more would be gradually introduced on the market, the MultiSwiss 6x16, 6x32 and 8x26. The first digit indicates the number of spindles, while the second digit indicates the diameter. These models are enhanced by their very practical ergonomics, a complete integration (charger, pumps, filtration, tray, part extraction), thermostabilisation with a +/-0,5 degree tolerance and a Fanuc 30i-B control. The axes and spindle motors, as well as servo-controls and amplifiers, are all Fanuc. “The consistency of the kinematics in these complex machines is important, as well as the reliability of the equipment and the associated service,” adds Brice Renggli. 

After initial adjustments to the prototype, the MultiSwiss 8x26 lathe n°3 is entrusted to G&Y Leuenberger as a test client. “This is our first multi-spindle lathe and getting started has been much easier than we thought it would,” explains Boris Leuenberger. In particular the channel-by-channel programming managed by the TB Deco process is facilitated by the PTO (Path Table Operation) developed by Fanuc. “The eight spindles allow us to accommodate more complex parts, since we have 6 stations fully available for additional operations”, says Boris Leuenberger. The series shift is done quickly, so that the machine can work continuously on medium to large series. Received in January 2017, the MultiSwiss 8x26 was fully operational six months later, without any modifications to the hardware. “We had to fundamentally change our organization in order to ensure a continuous 24/7 operation of the multi-spindle lathe,” said Boris Leuenberger. 

MultiSwiss 8x26, multi-spindle interior with motors.

But the results in terms of profitability, surface quality and precision went well beyond our expectations” he said in conclusion.

With Fanuc being a thirty year partner and supplier of our CNC controls, we are guaranteed the highest level of support in our developments, as well as in the monitoring of our products”, adds Brice Renggli. Tornos is one of Fanuc’s first European customers and, above all, one of the most demanding regarding the complexity of multi-axis kinematics. At the top end of the range of high-performance nano CNCs for complex machine tools, the CNC Fanuc 30i-B is designed to address the most difficult challenges. With more than 300 MultiSwiss multi-spindle lathes sold worldwide, Tornos testifies that Fanuc’s control and motorisation, as well as the entire Fanuc organisation, overcomes them fully.

FANUC CNC 30 i-B with iHMI for intuitive and extremely user-friendly operation.

The CNC series for the most complex requirements

The series of FANUC 30i-, 31i- et 32i model B controllers are ideal for complex high-speed precision machines with multi-axis and multi-channel functionality. To meet the needs of different types of users, these controllers combine user-friendly operation with exceptional levels of precision, reliability and efficiency along with high-speed machining in all kinds of machine tools, including lathes, 5-axis machine centres, gear cutting machines or transfer machines. In its optimal version, the CNC 30i-B has 15 channels, for 96 axes including 24 axes and spindles to perform compound milling/turning or turning/milling. Also included are preventive maintenance functions, a Dual Check Safety function, and the crash control 3D Interference Check.

Who is Gilbert Leuenberger?

Right to left, Boris Leuenberger, Brice Renggli and Sébastien Grillot, Sales Engineer FANUC Switzerland

In the middle of the previous century, Gilbert Leuenberger gained his experience at Petermann, one of three companies in Jura, Switzerland at the source of modern high precision turning employing sliding headstock automatics. In 1964, together with his wife, Ruth, he set up his own subcontracting business in a family barn in Eschert, a neighbouring town of Moutier. Promptly, a modern building was established at the entrance of the village, which would continue to expand. During the 1980s, his son Yves took over the company, which adopted the final name G&Y Leuenberger SA, and introduced the first numerically controlled machines. In the 1990s, the first Tornos Deco 2000 high precision turning centre led by a FANUC control, made its way to the factory. Boris Leuenberger, grandson of the founder, did his apprenticeship and completed his bachelor’s degree at Tornos, the worldwide manufacturer’s heir to the inventors of the Swiss automatic high precision turning machine. After a period in the USA, in 2014, Boris joined G&Y Leuenberger. He was handed the reins of the company’s management at the age of 23. A family saga was born. Fanuc Switzerland will support him as it continues to grow.