Precision Manufacturing Switzerland: From dentist to multi-mechanic
Partmaker, an Australian precision parts manufacturer located in West Heidelberg (Victoria), uses Tornos automatic lathes to produce tooth implants for the entire world.
Dr. Chris Hart, an experienced dental technician, has made a name for himself as a leading entrepreneur in his branch. Having gained his Master of Dental Science degree, he was appointed to an international team of implantology scholarship holders. This distinction took him to the University of Bern in Switzerland, where his tutor was the world-famous Professor Daniel Buser.
Unsuitable products led to the production of own products
When he returned to Australia he discovered that it was difficult to find the right dentures for oncology patients, so he decided to make them himself and in 2012 founded Partmaker. «Before we began to manufacture our own parts, we altered some perfectly produced dentures in order to master simple problems. For instance, a patient might not be able to open his mouth wide enough, so that certain screwdrivers cannot be used», he explains. The solution was at hand: Hart bean to manufacture his own parts and instruments.
One of Partmaker’s first products was the Tornos ENC 264 four-axle lathe, soon followed by the Tornos Delta 20. Hart was supported by Peter Staebner of Swisstec Australia, the Australian distributor of Tornos.
However, the Delta 20 brought certain limitations, even if it was in operation the whole day. So Partmaker came out with the straightforward and very ergonomic Swiss GT 13, with which all tool positions can be easily accessed. It is designed so that long and short parts can be successfully manufactured. «It has six linear axles, so it allows us to produce parts which we could not manage with the Delta 20 – and we can use 99 % of our existing programs on the new machine», explains Hart. «The Swiss GT 13 is so much easier to use than our old machine!»
Complex tools with short production cycle
Besides 30 tool positions, including 12 for powered tools, the Swiss GT 13 offers a Y axis which considerably expands the possibilities of secondary processing and permits the manufacture of complex tools without any follow-up work. Hart stresses that for Partmaker, due to its excellent accessibility, the new machine drastically shortens the production cycle. «The machine setup is straightforward and the cycle times are considerably shorter. Due to the easy access, we can reduce the production time of many parts by up to 40 %. For the time being we are not even fully exploiting all the capabilities of the Swiss GT 13, but we will get to this. In any case, with this machine we are already optimizing our production», concludes Hart. «Now that we have two machines, we find it much easier to keep abreast of incoming orders. The GT 13 has enough tool positions to handle the entire parts families of our three main production lines.»
Much faster programming with tisis
What has also impressed Hart is Tornos’ own communication and programming software Tisis. «With Tisis we can produce programs for our parts much faster because we only have to combine program modules. We reckon that Tisis brings us time savings of 50% because we do not have to produce a new program for every tool we make», says Hart.
Moreover, thanks to a high-pressure pump, chip removal with the Swiss GT 13 is child’s play. An example of the work which the new machine does is a Partmaker abutment with complex bevel geometry, external threads and a milled octagon. The part with its M1.4 thread with a depth of 4 mm and the 1.2 mm hexagonal with a depth of 1.5 mm is much easier to process with the new Swiss GT 13. In fact, with its GT 134, Partmaker is so productive that it has ordered the optional rod loader.
With the support of Tornos technology and the competence of Swisstec, as well as his own inventiveness, Hart can look to the future with confidence. «Thanks to the increasing use of computer-supported construction and manufacturing in dental medicine, more and more dentists realize what implant suppliers are capable of providing. So we know that there is a large potential for tailored solutions.»