The watch industry needs large parts !

The watch industry needs large parts!

On the occasion of the changes to ensure the installation of several new automatic lathes in its premises in Biel, we met with Claude Konrad, Polydec’s director to speak about markets, fields of activities and the parts the company produce. And the least we can say is that this company knows what “micro” means since parts of watch movements are amongst the larger they manufacture.

Founded in 1985 by two young friendly guys, the company has grown up step by step working for the automotive, electronics and more recently watchmaking fields. Mr. Konrad tells us: “Our goal is to evenly spread our activities between these three areas”. The quest for performance has always been at the heart of the concerns of the company, and today it is this willingness that pushes the company to invest in these new machines.

The medical field remains marginal for the Biel based subcontractor, however his skills do wonders in micro machining. Mr Konrad says: «Because of our lack of capacity, we have not developed this market as much as possible yet»

The medical field remains marginal for the Biel based subcontractor, however
his skills do wonders in micro machining. Mr Konrad says: «Because of our lack
of capacity, we have not developed this market as much as possible yet»

Let’s see a few unique features of Polydec:

(Really) microscopic parts…

olydec skills reach the boundaries of machining by material removal. Recently, the company realised parts with diameters of 7/100 mm (the diameter of a hair) and lengths of 3/10 in hardened material. If this case is extreme, the company regularly makes components with diameters of 3/10 including many machining by drilling or polygon milling. Mr. Konrad says: ‘When we reach such dimensions, the mechanical laws don’t react in the same way anymore, cutting speed is nearly inexistent”. He adds: “We produce regularly within tolerances of +/-2 µ and in extreme cases we go down to +/-1 µ”. If the company can rely on high-tech production means, the skill of its operators is essential to the achievement of such results.

New production means to go further


With the new lathes, Polydec increases its production capacity by 20%. Several of the following types of lathes are being installed: Esco D5, Tsugami P03 and Tornos Evodeco 10. With the Esco and Tsugami machines the company aims to cope with a lack of production capacity in all areas. With EvoDeco, Polydec wants to expand its capabilities and open new markets. “We are well-known for the fact we meet our deadlines, and these new means of production will enable us to shorten them” says the Director.

.. .and advanced management system…

If electronics pushed Polydec to achieve incredible parts like presented above, it is another area that allowed the company to organize and set up a very accurate statistical system of monitoring and control: the automotive industry. Certified with the ISO/TS 16949 automotive standard and ISO 9001, the company focuses on producing high added value parts up to 4 mm in diameter. Mr. Konrad explains: “At Polydec, quality processes are fully integrated and are part of the recipe of our success. Everything is always under control”. And this concern for control starts already with the request for quotation. Before any confirmation, all orders are analysed by an APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning and Control Plan). Mr. Konrad adds: “From an external point of view this may seem extra paperwork, but it is an important step that allows us to guarantee our parts already at that stage and to avoid subsequent problems”.

… combined to offer an outstanding service

The combination of technical, human and administrative skills allows Polydec to share its know-how between every field of activity. Mr. Konrad tells us: “For example the watchmaking field is radically changing its approach to machining. Many specialists of the automotive industry are now in place in this area and they bring rigorous methods that may seem heavy for those not used to. We speak the very same language and therefore offer them an immediate and effective solution”. Another area where the know-how of Polydec makes wonder? The achievement of precision parts of a few tenth of millimeters of diameter. Parts of watch movements for example lie in the lower limit for many high precision turning companies while on the contrary, they often appear quite large for Polydec. Mr. Konrad concludes on this subject: «We were lucky to be one of the first suppliers of a leading watch manufacturer to have signed a contract delegating quality. We are very proud”. This contract stipulates that all the parts are guaranteed by Polydec and no longer checked by the customer.

When men make the difference

The company offers its expertise gained in electronics and automotive to watchmaking for example, but is not enough. Each area involves special constraints, for example in terms of finish, visual or dimensional control. “We knew perfectly how to measure a Ra or Rz, but we didn’t have the experience of aspects controls. Moreover when we talk about precision of the order of a few microns, measurement tools are at the limit of their capacities. We must learn to adapt ourselves continuously to the needs and requirements of our customers” explains the Director which adds: “Know-how is what allow us to be set apart and preserve industrial machining Switzerland. We focus heavily on the ongoing internal training to always stay in the forefront”. And this performance pursuit ends up in the staff; the employees of the company must be “the best”. “We are very demanding; we know that average performance only is largely insufficient and we cannot afford it” finishes Mr. Konrad. And if the company is no longer run by two young friendly guys, it is always led by two friendly “less young” people for which the passion for perfection is always fully vivid.

Polydec SA décolletage

Rue de Longeau 18 – CH-2504 Biel/Bienne
Tel. +41 32 344 10 00 – Fax +41 32 344 10 01 –