St. Paul, MN (March 11, 2020) – 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.”

“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. 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.

Installing ATC tool magazines and APC pallet systems as options with Matsuura 5-axis machining centers allows the machines to automatically continue production without human intervention, even during the night.

Few machine tool builders have perfected this type of automation and the shops incorporating the technology have tremendous competitive advantages.  Matsuura’s line of MAM72 models fit this application perfectly.  MAM stands for Matsuura Automated Manufacturing and 72 is the hours in a weekend.  The machines are built from the ground up to run unattended.

(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.

For more information about Matsuura, please contact: [email protected] or visit: www.matsuurausa.com.