Starrag in Vuadens: Behind the scenes of a world first

The new Bumotec 191neo multifunctional machining center, the “precision solution with 12 faces”

Before the revolutionary Bumotec 191neo machining center was brought onto the market, it was put through its paces under real conditions. Del West volunteered to do this, bringing benefits to the entire sector. What role did Del West play “behind the scenes”? In spring 2022, Starrag in Vuadens prepared a world first, the market launch of its new Bumotec 191neo multifunctional machining center.

Man and machine for Industry 4.0

What better way of optimizing this prime example of ingenious machining technology for the requirements of the market ahead of the launch date than by installing it at one of its user's premises? “Initially, we simply felt honoured and then we were eager to help. It was very motivating for our teams, who played their part in developing a first-rate machine,” says Olivier Conne, Managing Director of Del West Europe. He considered which range of applications would be the most representative for this testing phase. “It was a matter of considering the different machining types, particularly when milling, and also with respect to unloading and even the behaviour of workpieces during high-speed machining,” he explains.

Given that the two companies are a short distance from each other, the machine building company was able to gradually and continuously perfect the HMI (human-machine interface) over the course of frequent on-site meetings. This ensured that the operating system was as intuitive as possible with its use of simple, clear language and provided information via images and graphics that are easier to understand and more accessible. Moreover, the companies gained a more in-depth command of the data being processed and transmitted. After all, such data has already become a well-established part of Industry 4.0, enabling autonomous operation around the clock and machines designed to receive instructions remotely.


The new challenges and the need to measure up to the competition proved to be a “fertile breeding ground”.

“No one needs to struggle with annoying tree structures any more,” sums up Jérôme Zbinden, responsible for research and development at Starrag in Vuadens. Olivier Conne adds, “in addition to the basic functions, we were able to go through all of the details relevant to the very fine settings to further improve the machines’ user-friendliness and efficiency.” This resulted in a better understanding of the machine – both on the part of those who only occasionally deal with it, such as maintenance personnel, and those who need to coordinate the volume of orders with the machine workload from their management cockpit.

Choosing the optimal chip conveyor

The aspect of the machining center that impressed Del West Europe SA, based in Roche, Switzerland, was the wide variety of many different materials that it could machine – and not just for the watch industry. This leading manufacturer of high-end precision products is also very active in other fields of microtechnology. “It’s true that in addition to steels, we also machine a good dozen alloys, for example, for our customers in Formula One. We also use titanium and aluminum, which are rarely seen in the watch industry – not to mention the other materials,” confirms Olivier Conne. However, when chips are removed, it all comes down to taking account of the specific behaviour of each material. For precious metals, they not only need to be filtered out of the machining area, a recovery rate of over 99% is also required. Since this wide range of capabilities is in demand, Starrag designed the chip conveyor to be suitable for all chip types, whether for spiral chips or microelements to be filtered. At the same time, any risk of the lines clogging the oil cooler or any obstruction of the cycles in a closed circuit must be avoided.

The human-machine interface (HMI) – now even more intuitive with more images and graphics. Incredibly user-friendly.

Tested by the user

Being able to install such a revolutionary machining center as the 191neo with a customer before its market launch is a real luxury. Thanks to the cooperation of Del West Europe SA, Starrag Vuadens was able to optimize the Bumotec 191neo not only for this customer, but the entire market. The new challenges and the need to measure up to the competition proved to be a “fertile breeding ground”. This preliminary testing under real conditions ensured that optimal use is made of the new machining center in manufacturing. This was the “battle testing” phase for the machine technology, says Olivier Conne in a tongue-in-cheek military analogy. Starrag will continue to keep an open ear to Del West, particularly with respect to future developments of the Bumotec 191neo.