Swissline Precision Manufacturing’s approach to on-the-job training is simple: the more someone knows, the better. Rather than have employees who specialize in just one area, Swissline trains its shop staff to perform multiple job functions.
“We feel that the people who set up our machines should also do the programming,” says David Chenevert, president and co-owner of the company with Ray Barsalou. “We don’t believe in separate programmers; we have our setup guys do all the programming. In short, we try to teach everyone to become a programmer as well as a setup person.”
Established in 1965, Swissline manufactures precision component parts for the commercial, medical and aerospace industries. The parts are produced with tight tolerances and at low costs. The company currently employs 47 workers on two manufacturing shifts.
Mr. Chenevert and Mr. Barsalou start their new employees off by having them learn the basics of a machine, such as loading and checking. “From there, they move up to an operator position,” says Mr. Chenevert. “Then they can start doing some minor offsets. We do all of our own training internally, and we’ve had great success training our own personnel on the job.
“Because we’re a job shop, we don’t always know what we’re going to be running from one week to the next,” Mr. Chenevert continues. “Every part has its own idiosyncrasies. We do a lot of short runs—100, 250, 500 pieces. We try to have quick turnaround, so we need to have our setup guys do the setup quickly.”
Swissline Precision Manufacturing recently moved into a new 30,000-square foot plant located in Cumberland, Rhode Island. With the addition of a Tsugami MU-38 machine, the company’s CNC Swiss capacities have been broadened substantially. Swissline now handles small to medium part sizes (0.015 inch to 1.500 inch) and low- to high-volume runs. The close tolerance, precision-machined components are manufactured in conventional metals, as well as in aerospace materials and exotic plastics.