Based in the Houston suburb of Conroe, TXSWISS bills itself as a one-stop shop for Swiss-machined parts across an array of industries. Housing the latest technology available in CNC machine tools and measuring equipment, the company takes pride in being competitive enough to keep manufacturing jobs not only here in the U.S., but in the Lone Star State itself.
Established in 2016, TXSWISS serves manufacturers in many different industries that need a production partner to produce their precision components in high volumes, with 10,000 part minimums. Oil and gas, aerospace, medical, and defense are just some of the key industries that have entrusted the team at TXSWISS with their parts manufacturing.
As a Houston area company, it’s not surprising that oil and gas industry customers comprise a significant segment of TXSWISS’ work. They also have provided some of its more interesting and unique machining challenges. TXSWISS is proud to be the go-to solution for some of Houston’s largest oil service providers in which their work has ranged from production of more than 1 million parts or jobs as small as hundreds using exotic materials, such as Inconel, Lava, and Hastelloy.
The defense industry, with its continual need for high-precision parts, is another industry well-served by TXSWISS, a manufacturer registered and approved to provide machined components to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The strong aerospace presence in Texas—home to major operations such as SpaceX, Lockheed Martin and others—and the ever-evolving nature of the industry makes manufacturing adaptability essential to success. The same can be said for the continually advancing world of medical components manufacturing. From the beginning, TXSWISS has committed itself to always being ready to grow and adapt to meet customer needs. With a combined 75 years of experience from just the medical field alone, TXSWISS’ application engineers and machinists are able to apply rigorous care and control to each job.
Whether a company is seeking a Houston-based Swiss shop to efficiently run its tight-tolerance production, or is in need of application engineering or a repair service for its own in-house Swiss department, or is looking for someone to make that difficult nickel alloy part that they can’t find anyone to make, the team at TXSWISS is prepared to meet its needs.
Led by Applications Engineer Chris Armstrong and President Ryan Madsen, the team at TXSWISS balances its collective experience with its interest in pushing the manufacturing envelope. “Lots of newcomers to the industry are deterred because they feel like they don’t have the requisite experience to suggest new ideas. But we believe that’s where the real innovation happens,” said Madsen.
Since its founding, TXSWISS has trusted its projects to ESPRIT CAM software, Camarillo, Calif., part of Hexagon. During his time working for machine tool dealers in applications, Armstrong built a reputation in the service industry as the “go-to” guy for challenging Swiss-turn projects. “As word got out that we opened TXSWISS, our capabilities were immediately tested,” said Madsen. “It took no time at all for Chris to convince me that without ESPRIT, these complex jobs we were getting would inevitably end in ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ We also run a lot of high-volume production parts, where every second of cycle time is crucial.” Madsen said that the faster cycle times the shop has achieved with the combination of its Citizen Swiss-style machines and ESPRIT CAM software are what gives TXSWISS its biggest edge against the competition.
Armstrong’s long-term appreciation for ESPRIT doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what else is out there. “Years ago, at a previous job, they wanted me to learn a different CAM software that didn’t have posts,” he said, referring to post processors. “Eventually, the machines stopped supporting it and I ended up writing my own macro just so I had full control.”
However, manual programming limited his ability to complete finite details and surfacing. “It took way too long to get compound radius blends done, especially for milling. Around that time, a customer brought in two mating components and our CAM software couldn’t do it. But ESPRIT did it on the first try,” said Armstrong, adding that reseller Victor Davila of Houston’s Shape Design Technologies was especially helpful.
When asked about a specific project where ESPRIT has helped, Armstrong is enthusiastic. “Oh, every single problematic project ever,” he said. “There are two things that act as my lie detectors in the shop: ESPRIT and my indicators. When I need to prove something, ESPRIT is one of my first go-tos. It’s so much more than CAM—it’s also a forensic tool. We wouldn’t stand a chance of programming most of our parts without ESPRIT.”
The past five years have seen him become a bit of an ESPRIT CAM software evangelist. “I’ve shared ESPRIT with my customers and watched them adopt the program,” said Armstrong. “Clients especially love the ESPRIT process summary sheets. The visualization gives everybody peace of mind, and the time savings are incredible.” He explained that some of the shop’s most complex parts would take weeks or even months to program without ESPRIT; with ESPRIT, the process is a couple of days.
Oddly enough, the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be kind to TXSWISS. “Right now, we are continuing to add machines and looking to continue to add passionate members to our team,” said Madsen. “We have not done any advertising, so all of our growth has come from word-of-mouth.”
Effectively managing that growth while retaining the shop’s existing customer base is a balancing act that Armstrong and Madsen look forward to perfecting—especially with the help of ESPRIT CAM software. “ESPRIT is ready for our growth already. There are so many features that we haven’t even used to their full potential yet,” said Armstrong.
Like many people in manufacturing, the team at TXSWISS is beginning to turn its attention to automation. “All of our machines have more than one task to do; it’s not strictly Swiss anymore. We know ESPRIT will be the perfect companion to guide us to success,” Armstrong concluded.