PAViX REVOLUTIONISES THE SETTING OF WATCH HANDS
10. Juni 2021
Available since 2016, the PAViX hand-setting bracket is uncontestably one of the biggest current success of VOH. Combined with a new smart production application LINKiX, this configuration reduces to a matter of seconds the transition time required between two different series, with a complete view of production quality and progress. A real return on equipment that facilitates the work of watchmakers.
Setting watch hands, in other words positioning them as precisely as possible on a movement, while retaining a suitable rate of production: this is the watchmaker’s daily challenge. Technology has progressed in such a way as to support them in their task.
“PAViX is not a fully automatic machine that installs the hands instead of the watchmaker. Quite the contrary, the watchmaker’s skill and dexterity are still just as important”, explains Richard Vaucher, manager of VOH.
Presented at the EPHJ trade fair in 2015 and available since 2016, in the middle of the general economic downturn, “PAViX responds to a requirement by watchmaking manufacturers seeking to enhance the quality of the placement of watch hands”. Richard Vaucher, a watchmaker by training, and his teams, were immediately faced with this issue. “We presented a virtual concept and then we refined the technical specification, with the collaboration of our clients.” The objective: to revolutionise the approach to watch hand-setting.
“A VERY SIGNIFIANT AMOUNT OF WORK ON ERGONOMICS”
As specialists in watchmaking equipment, the teams at VOH are committed to the smallest details in the design of this new equipment. “We carried out a very significant amount of work of the ergonomics of PAViX, as an extension of our work with SUVA [Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund] and the Convention patronale [Swiss watchmaking employers’ federation] aimed at describing very precisely what the ideal watchmaking workstation should look like.”
Thus, in addition to the technical criteria, the design was conceived so as to take into account the working position of the operator: avoiding the wrist being broken, keeping the angle of the elbow open, as well as the position of the shoulders. “We have taken all these parameters into account, without denaturing the movements involved in ancestral, traditional methods.” The 3D printing of prototypes enabled validation of the theoretical aspects.
RELIABILITY AND ADAPTABILITY
Easy to use, the VOH hand-setting bracket is a valuable aid to the manufacture of a watch. Firstly, the watchmaker scans the manufacturing order which will then install the correct program on the PAViX; as hand-setting is linked to a product reference. If required, the operator can also opt to trace the individual number of the set movement, which enables full traceability of the manufacturing process in the event of a fault occurring on the watch.
The program then tells the watchmaker to take the requisite movement holder, and supports them, via the different steps to be followed, in the regulation and setting of the watch hands. “With pre-defined ranges of force, upon detection of the position stop, and with an evolutive chromatic range, the position of the hand is validated, or otherwise, progressively, as it is lowered onto the movement”, continues Richard Vaucher. Green: everything in order; Red: if the pressure applied exceeds the programmed values.
In short, PAViX supports the watchmaker’s expertise. The positioning is facilitated by a computerised aid, and the operator saves time in the organisation of their work. “With PAViX, one can move quickly from an Extraplate two-hand watch, to a chronograph with seven hands.” Thus, with perfect control over the setting levels and forces, the position of the hands is precise and reproducible, enabling adherence to identical criteria from one production series to another, independently of the location or the operator. We have moved very far from the times where the adjustment and setting of hands was performed by trial and error, without taking into account the correct force required for the setting.
Finally, with the recent establishment of the LINKiX data exchange system, it is possible to determine who makes the parts, on which machine, when, how, and for how long. It is therefore possible to monitor an entire workshop equipped with PAViX brackets and, at any time, and in real time, to check the quality and correct advancement of production.
A COMBINATION OF ADDED VALUE BETWEEN THE HUMAN AND THE TOOL
As a promoter of the watchmaker’s expertise and skills, and more generally of the human being, Richard Vaucher believes that the added value of the human being lies in their capacity to analyse the beauty of objects, to verify that they are harmonious and true, while the management of forces and levels, for perfect hand-setting, requires technical support that only the VOH hand-setting bracket can provide.
PAViX is therefore not just a product, it above all a technological choice. “Our approach is in a way that of skills as recognised by UNESCO, reworked for 2021” concludes Richard Vaucher with a smile.
A LEVEL-HEADED BUSINESS, AND A CREDIBLE PLAYER IN THE WATCHMAKING INDUSTRY
After a quarter of a century of activity, and having dealt with several crises, Richard Vaucher does not like the term “maturity” used to describe the phase that his company is currently entering: “I prefer the expression ‘level-headedness’, because we are not at the peak of our development”, he says with a smile. Over time, and with an increasingly comprehensive interlinking of mechatronics in the development of its products, VOH has been able to retain a certain freshness and the “inventive” spirit of the mechanic of the early days, which is evident in a veritable corporate culture. “Today, finally, I have an objective, and it is for my colleagues to forge the way to achieve it, and in turn to be creative themselves in doing so.”