St. Paul, MN (August 20, 2020) – With four decades of aerospace machining, W Machine Works uses the most sophisticated equipment in the manufacturing industry. Their fully automated 5 axis milling centers, including the Matsuura MAM72-35V can run unattended 7 days a week.

Multi-tasking and single setups quickly grew to include automation for W Machine Works’ high-mix/low-volume business. The company’s acquisition of a Matsuura MAM72-35V, a 5-axis machining center with 240-tool capacity and 32 pallets, is sized right for the company’s varied part mix. “We got this one right from the beginning,” says Randy Neckien, vice president of operations at W Machine Works in San Fernando, California.

“We defined our processes properly, bought it new, tooled it properly, and trained on it properly. Our parts run the gamut from fittings, ballasts, and housings to spars and rails, all out of every series stainless up to high-temperature titanium alloys and castings. With 32 pallets, we can run multiple jobs simultaneously and jump in with a first article. It gives us tremendous capability in minimum floor space.”

W Machine Works was established in 1978 and supports their customer’s goal of delivering quality parts and sub-assemblies, on time, at competitive prices. W Machine Work exceeds customer expectations with their knowledge in precision manufacturing and continuous improvement.

With more than 60 highly trained employees, their business model separates them from the competition in their hands-on approach to their customers’ individual needs.

“Building a strong customer base for us has meant a high mix of parts in low volumes, such as 10 to 50 in a lot,” Randy explains. “The emphasis is on quick turnaround, often with added processes such as anodizing, heat-treating, or assembly. We’d love to have five-year contracts with weekly deliveries of parts, but that’s not the way it works.”

The company’s high mix of part requirements also includes a high mix of materials, including aluminum, stainless steels, high-temperature nickel-based alloys like Inconel, and titanium.

The High-Variation/Low-Volume manufacturing trend has become more prevalent making companies more financially resilient in difficult economic times.

This flexibility provides High-Variation/Low-Volume companies the ability to make investments and continue to grow. These companies adjust setup and processing procedures to create simplified workflows by implementing lean practices into assembly procedures. As a result, High-Variation/Low-Volume manufactures have become more capable of withstanding economic downturns and changes in market spending.

Matsuura’s automated, lights-out production enables many companies to take on low-volume jobs for various industries. With a wide variety of work, minimizing setup times is key to success.

An emphasis on quick changeover—the ability to quickly convert from running one product to another—is essential for a manufacturer that has a highly variable mix of product.

Some advantages of High-Variation/ Low-Volume production are better tailoring to specific customer demand, improved responsiveness, and lower inventory requirements for finished goods.

Rudy Gomez, machine shop manager, says efficiently running such a mix of parts and materials is possible if you do your homework.

With 14 years of machining experience, including the last four spent at W Machine Works, Gomez, a member of the W Machine Works leadership team, is a key part of maximizing the company’s automation capabilities. “One of the biggest differences in my time here is the stuff we’ve put into the shop,” he says. With all the automation capabilities the shop possesses in the cells, every labor hour at W Machine Works results in an average of three machine hours of work. Creating standard work procedures and taking advantage of standardized tools was a key task.

Take a current titanium part the shop is running as an example. Made from 6AL/4V titanium with dimensions of 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.25 inches, key recommendations include rigid setup, slow speeds, high feeds, adequate coolant, and sharp tools. With its high tensile strength and hardness characteristics, the part is a perfect candidate for running overnight on the company’s automated machining centers.

Matsuura’s original automation and unmanned running systems provide solutions for organizations facing labor shortages by utilizing working hours effectively. With the deficiency in skilled labor to operate CNC Machines, automation provides the potential for expanding production and increasing profit while decreasing employment costs.

(Portions from Modern Machine Shop-Case Study Post: 3/21/2011)


Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business.

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