PMPA Member Tornos Profile
In 2019, at its new headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois, Tornos Technologies U.S. Corp. celebrated its 60th anniversary as one of the world’s leading producers of Swiss-type automatic lathes and multi-spindle machines. But to understand the full scope of the company’s illustrious history, one must travel further back in time to more than a century ago in the municipality of Moutier, Switzerland. Since the late 1800s, the region had become famous for its innovation in the production of high-precision automatic turning machines. In 1914, Tornos opened up shop in Moutier and began manufacturing Swiss-type automatic lathes. In 1930, Tornos introduced the Tornos M10, the first mass produced Swiss-type lathe, one of several machines made by the company that was a first of its kind in the industry. Other machines that defined the company’s success were the CNC 632, the first CNC multi-spindle machine, and the Tornos Deco and MultiDeco Swiss machines, of which more than 10,000 have been installed across the globe.
“Previously, we were known for only high-end machines, but we have added to our portfolio and now offer machines for every need and budget,” says Daniel Maerklin, president at Tornos Technologies U.S. Corp. “We believe that we are the company with the best Swiss turning processes, because of our expansive history in the industry and our wealth of knowledge to produce a simple to complex part for a customer.”
Thanks to the Swiss machines’ tight tolerances and high precision, Tornos’ technology found early success in the watchmaking industry making various parts such as crowns, winding mechanisms, various screws and balances. In recent decades, there has been more demand to meet certain production standards and requirements in industries such as dental, automotive, medical and electrical. This demand for highly precise specialty parts with tight tolerances led to sustained success for Tornos over the years.
“We are able to provide the customer with the fastest cycle times on a part, because we have an expansive database of parts that we’ve already made and have created solutions for,” Mr. Maerklin says. “In addition to our machines, it is the process and application side that is responsible for much of our innovation.”
While Tornos earned its reputation by pioneering Swiss technology in the 19th century, the company is now defined by its ability to change with the times by focusing on the aspects that are driving today’s leading tech companies in other industries, such as product design, ergonomics and user friendliness. A Tornos machine that may best encompass all these modern elements is its SwissNano, a colorful, compact and high-precision machine designed for small workpieces. The SwissNano is one of the smallest and energy-efficient machines of its kind. The machine is also ergonomically designed with a control panel on a swivel arm fitted with an electronic hand wheel for easier access to the machine’s tools.
“There is no machine like the SwissNano in terms of precision, footprint and design,” Mr. Maerklin says. “Function determines the design, and when you look at how the machine is designed, it really focuses on access and ergonomics.”
Another part of what puts Tornos on the cutting edge of Swiss machining technology is the smartphone and tablet-friendly software it uses to program its machines called TISIS. TISIS is a part of what is known in the company as Industry 4.0 and is a communication and programming software, which also can monitor a customer’s machine fleet and can help them decide which machine to use for a specific part. The software also enables users to assess each machine’s options, reduces the risk of collisions and resulting stoppages and also improves production efficiency. The software also allows users to program machines using graphics that allow them to drag and drop a cycle or use ISO codes.
“We look for ways to make life easier and be productive for our customers,” says Paul Cassella, applied technology manager at Tornos Technologies U.S. Corp. “We partner with them to produce ways to be faster, because if they are successful, we are successful.”
As one of the founding PMPA members, Tornos has greatly benefited from the association over the years. The company particularly benefits from PMPA’s various conferences, including its National Technical Conference.
“The National Technical Conference is a really great place for exchanging notes with our customers,” Mr. Cassella says. “I always found it extremely interesting, and getting to listen to the customers discuss their ideas helps me form new ideas on my own that I can bring back with me.”
Tornos Technologies U.S. Corporation is located at 200 East Howard Ave., Suites 220-224, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018. Phone: 630-812-2040. Website: tornos.com