Flexibility for high-quality watches and implants

Bumotec manufactures high-quality transfer machines for demanding applications which are typically designed for small batches. With NUMtransfer, this company in the western part of Switzerland is able to provide its customers with a high degree of flexibility and short retooling times which are essential for profitable production.

The short drive from the motorway to Bumotec could come straight from a film made for tourists. The journey takes you through a hilly landscape with a wonderful view of the mountains in the distance with black and white cows grazing in the verdant pastures, all the way to the tiny village of Sâles.

The flat buildings of Bumotec nestle into the surrounding scenery on the outskirts of the village. The older buildings stand alongside the newer ones and are evidence that the company is successful and has been around for a long time. Bumotec was founded at the end of the sixties and now employs over 120 employees, doing business all over the world. Bumotec develops and manufactures a wide range of machine tools, from small 4-axis milling machines, to multi-spindle milling machines to machining centres, transfer machines and special machines.

The S-1000 C is the top model which is a horizontal rotary transfer machine with up to 12 stations and 48 axes, controlled by a complete solution by NUMtransfer. This high-tech product is valued particularly in areas where high precision and flexibility are required. As well as the clock and watch industry which has already relied on Bumotec’s quality for many years, the medical industry and the connectors industry also use the S-1000 C. In many industries it is the much the same, whether it is the parts for watches or implants, the materials used, such as titan and stainless steel, the narrow tolerances required or the demanding requirements of the customer. The customers are based in Europe, China, Thailand and the USA.

Machines are usually tooled up for a new workpiece every two or three days due to the small batches of 10,000 to 20,000 pieces. Therefore, flexibility is a key factor in the whole system and NUMtransfer has a crucial role to play. Tooling up is done using NUMtransfer and the machines can be converted in a very short time. Tool sets can be calibrated very quickly and offsets can be made easily and are just two of many elements that contribute to reaching the target. Bumotec values the many years of cooperation with NUM: “We have a high regard for NUM’s philosophy, which like ours has a strong focus on continuity and flexibility” says Guy Buchmann, head of development and customer service. Bumotec has been able to develop and integrate its own user interface much faster than anticipated, thanks to the flexibility of NUM. The product continuity of NUM controls facilitates production, installation, training and service.

“Nowadays most customers do not just want the machines, they want a turnkey system.” states Guy Ballif, son of the company founder and the future managing director. “That is why our aim is to work even closer with the customer to enable us to get a better understanding of their needs, improve implementation and provide a better product and service.” Nowadays some customers often come to Sâles for a while, so they can see their machine in the making. Bumotec offers a service concept as an important supplement to the machines, which ensures high reliability for years after installation. Therefore the customer service at NUM is the ideal partner and can also monitor the controls on site for years to come.

(September 2007)