Into a successful future with modern equipment

User report/ SWISSMECHANIC / Fehlmann


Trainees expect a certain level of respect; you can’t underestimate the demands that young peoplemake At least that’s how Daniel Lohner, head of the training center and course instructor at Swissmechanic, Graubünden section, sees it. The company, therefore, factored this requirement into its investment plans for new machines. Landquart opted for seven PICOMAX 56 mill milling machines from Fehlmann.

Modern concepts and products for vocational training are an integral part of Swissmechanic’s corpo-rate philosophy. It is, therefore, necessary to continuously ensure an appropriate level and clearly defined quality in training. And so new investments had to be made in 2022. Seven machines were getting old, showed defects and were also no longer up to date in terms of requirements. In the course of this new investment, specifications were, therefore, drawn up, concepts, prices and ser-vices put to the test and in-depth discussions held with four manufacturers. The decision was made in favor of the PICOMAX 56 mill milling machines from Fehlmann AG. The great advantage of these machines is that they are designed for both manual and CNC use, with a simplified operating con-cept, made possible by simply turning the additional key switch. This quickly transforms the milling machine from CNC operation to a purely manual machine with three parallel active mechanical-electronic handwheels for the X, Y and Z axes, as well as basic functions for conventional milling, drilling and thread cutting. This concept is particularly suitable for training, because in Landquart it is considered necessary for trainees to get a feel for machining. What does the machine do if a cutter is running too fast or the feed rate is too high? Daniel Lohner, however, sees decision criteria for the Fehlmann machines in other areas: “To start with, making such an investment is difficult because there are hardly any manufacturers of such conventional milling machines left. Apart from that, we were impressed by Fehlmann’s concept, in addition to the price and service. Many console milling ma-chines have an inadequate sheet metal casing around the machine table. The result is coolant and chips on the floor. This is solved professionally throughout at Fehlmann. The same holds true for precision. ‘”If I demand a tolerance of 2/100 mm millimeter from trainees, then a machine that allows them to do that must also be available.” All this is well thought out in Fehlmann machines and, at the same time, it is a very modern product. “It can’t be underestimated, our apprentices see things like that and proceed with the appropriate respect and dedication.” Now the focus in Landquart is on basic training and only sample workpieces are produced. This could certainly be done on older ma-chines as well. But it is also a fact that the companies that train with Swissmechanic expect modern machines that meet current requirements.

Trainees expect a certain level of respect. If they are given this, they will show the appropriate respect and dedication in return.

The calculated balancing act for training

From Fehlmann’s point of view, however, the machine concept of the PICOMAX 56 mill, according to Adrian Tobler, Technical Consulting and Sales at Fehlmann AG, is a great balancing act. This is be-cause, for one, as a machine manufacturer you can see which machining centers the trainees are working on after four years of apprenticeship. Currently, these are predominantly 5-axis machining centers, mostly automated, with pallet or raw part handling and extensivetool magazines. That’s why a modern basis is a mandatory prerequisite here, even during training. With regard to the PICOMAX 56 mill, Adrian Tobler explains this as follows: “We have had the PICOMAX 56 TOP in our program for several years now. These machines are mainly used in equipment and prototype construction, as well as in smallbatch production. The requests from our customers in this area for bolt hole circles, pocket and trochoidal milling, etc. have steadily increased. That’s why with the “mill package,” we have delib-erately taken another step back for training. We wanted to make the machines simpler, more manage-able and easier to operate.”
At Swissmechanic in Landquart, it is clear that the overall package also works and that it can be used to vary the training. Two of the seven machines are additionally equipped with a modern tool changer and a 3D probe. These options are necessary for full CNC training, including programming or running in the MasterCAM software.
So in addition to the well thought-out concept and the “Made in Switzerland” quality, everything has been done right with the seven PICOMAX 56 mill milling and drilling machines from Fehlmann AG. At any rate, Daniel Lohner sees himself proven right in all respects: “The machines have been running perfectly smoothly from the beginning and the best part is, I also notice a difference in the trainees compared to before. When they see the machines with the touch screen operation for the first time, they are visibly impressed.”

Daniel Lohner, Melanie Orelj, Remo Patt, and Adrian Tobler (from left to right): “After their apprentice-ship, the trainees will work on 5-axis machining centers, mostly automated, with pallet or blanks han-dling. That’s where a modern foundation is a mandatory prerequisite for training.”

Only sample workpieces are manufactured in Landquart, but some of them are quite demanding. Tol-erances of 2/100 mm are not uncommon in test workpieces.

Swissmechanic is an employer, trade and professional association of the mid-sized mechanical, elec-trical and metal industry based in Weinfelden TG. Nationwide, SWISSMECHANIC represents about 1,400 members with around 70,000 employees, including approximately 6,000 apprentices.
The Graubünden section was founded in 1981. Today, almost 33 small and mid-sized enterprises be-long to this section. SWISSMECHANIC Graubünden sees its main focus as the active and far-sighted training of young professionals, operates modern basic training, maintains the image of its member companies both internally and externally, and also offers various educational opportunities for adults and lateral entrants.

By the way
Daniel Lohner: “The previous machines were procured over a 5-year period. This had the disadvantage that we had to work with different controls or software. Thus, there have also been different prerequi-sites among the trainees. That is why we waited longer to invest in the Fehlmann machines, so that we could have seven identical machines.

Now, however, Swissmechanic also pursues specific technical topics. If, for example, a trainee comes from a company where aluminum is predominantly processed, these focal points are already taken into account in the basic training.

Interesting facts to note
Fehlmann also provided very quick and flexible support to those responsible with an additional re-quest. Specifically, it involved a mask that was to be entered into the controller in order to program and start a linear block at the push of a button.


7320 Landquart / Switzerland
Tel. +41 81 322 61 73

Fehlmann AG Maschinenfabrik
Birren 1
5703 Seon / Switzerland
Tel. +41 62 769 11 11

Swiss Machining