Precitrame Machines: serving the watch industry

Tramelan-based Precitrame Machines has been serving the watch industry for over 20 years. Its robust experience in machining and finishing complex mass-produced parts makes it a truly trusted partner that offers particularly intuitive solutions.

Precitrame Machines says it does not sell machines, but rather customised, turnkey solutions. Adapting to customer needs and requirements, the company offers genuine partnerships. While watchmaking currently accounts for 60% of its order book, the rest of its business is in the automotive, electronics and medical sectors.

The firm has a presence not only in Switzerland but also in Germany and in China, currently employing 400 people in all, of which 370 at its three sites in Tramelan. Now enjoying a total of 14,000sqsm production area, it started out modestly under the name Préci-Trame.

Founded in the early 1980s, the company rapidly expanded its activities in the field of microtechnology, becoming a supplier of watch blanks to the most prestigious brands. At the time, it was also a subcontractor for top-of-the-range quartz calibres. In 1988, the firm developed its own CNC machines and began selling them to major watch manufacturers a few years later. At the same time, it also diversified into the automotive and electronics sectors, notably including mobile phones.

The machine division was booming, as was the watchmaking subcontracting division. In 2001, Precitrame SA was accordingly divided into two distinct entities, Precitrame Machines and Ebauches Micromécanique Precitrame (EMP), which specialises in the manufacture of watchmaking and micro-technical components.

Flexible solutions
Precitrame Machines designs, develops and produces innovative solutions for the production and finishing of complex, small and medium-sized micromechanical components. Whether it’s feasibility testing, pre-production, technology transfer or exclusive development, Precitrame is truly customer-focused. Each project begins with a meticulously drawn-up set of specifications designed to provide the best possible response to requirements in terms of objectives, costs and deadlines.

The company offers production machines known as “transfer solutions”, suitable for medium and large-scale production, from a few hundred parts to a million a day. The various operations required to manufacture a component are then broken down into multiple stages carried out in parallel, thereby guaranteeing precision, durability and optimised production times. The system is fully integrated and automated, from loading the raw part to packaging it after machining. It also saves considerable space.

Another of the firm’s flagship products is the K5 micro machining centre, which is particularly compact, taking up no more than 1sqm and forming part of a particularly flexible concept. This solution can be used for prototyping or to set up automated systems with several modules for medium-sized production runs.

Precitrame Machines also offers solutions for robotised component finishing, mainly polishing (links, clasps and cases). Controlled by a master polisher, these products ensure consistent quality and production. These 100% digital concepts incorporate the latest technologies essential to an industrial environment. The inhouse-developed machine interfaces are particularly intuitive, simplifying use and ensuring greater responsiveness.

The company’s product range also includes automated stations for assembly (of which the logistics alone are automated). Thanks to a conveyor-belt system transporting components and concealed beneath the workstation, watchmakers can really focus on their core skills, without worrying about operational logistics.

Precitrame relies on a regional network of high-level suppliers. The machines are assembled at the Tramelan site, while the main subcontractors are located within a 30km radius. This enables the company to label its products Swiss made.

Throughout the process, the customer re-mains at the heart of every project. Constantly pushing boundaries and developing its know-how at every opportunity, Precitrame always keeps in mind the idea of “simplifying so as to render things more intuitive”... a reflection of what can happen when complex processes become user-friendly.

June 06, 2024