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Bay Area Source Offers More than Machining
A fitting that was machined from titanium for an aerospace application
Photo courtesy of JWP Manufacturing
SANTA CLARA, Calif.--A trusted machining source that provides engineering and assembly services, as well as high-quality machining in virtually any volume, can be a valuable supply chain partner in today's cost-constrained manufacturing environment. One Bay Area manufacturer that fills this role is JWP Manufacturing, an ISO 9000 certified company that offers services ranging from design consulting and rapid-turnaround prototypes to large-volume precision machining and assembly.
The company's parts and components have been used in the medical industry, as well as in semiconductor equipment, laser machinery, and optical systems. "We make little tiny copper brackets, on up to big cooling plates and heat sinks," says Carl Madau, operations manager for JWP Manufacturing, which exhibited its manufacturing capabilities at the Santa Clara Design-2-Part Show in May. "For the heat sinks, we will sometimes take [the customer's] standard extrusions, and then modify them to meet their requirements. We also make custom heat sinks out of copper and aluminum."
Parts for semiconductor equipment include an aluminum flexure, which functions as a housing to hold optical parts. According to Madau, JWP is also doing more defense and aerospace work lately, including parts for a company that makes rockets.
The company's wire EDM equipment complements the work of its CNC machining centers, according to Madau, not only because of its precision (it uses a wire only 0.0010-inch in diameter to machine a workpiece), but also because it can get into places that aren't reachable using a CNC machine with an end mill. "We have one part that we make that has multiple steps to manufacture it," he explains. "We start the process by CNC machining the general features, and then we use the wire EDM to cut features that are very small and need to be very precise. Also, the finishes are finer with the wire EDM."
Some of the company's CNC machining centers are fully automated, and have loading arms built right into the machine. The loading arms function like a clamp that grabs the part and then places it in the right spots for specific cuts. Machines often run by themselves overnight and on weekends. Someone has to load the pallet full of blanks, but then the robotic arms inside the machine load the pallet or take it out of the machine.
"We have 24 pallets we can use on one particular machine, where we can mount large pieces of aluminum, like a 6-inch thick plate that's about 24 inches x 36 inches," says Madau. "We bolt the huge chunks of metal onto the pallet, and then a robot arm selects a pallet, and pulls it into the machine. The machine can rotate the pallets so another side of the part can be machined."
As an adjunct to its machining work, JWP offers mechanical assembly. For one medical customer, for example, the company assembles an aluminum tray that holds test tubes for lab work. After machining the tray's plastic handles, JWP assembles a number of buttons and tags using dowel pins and screws. Machined prototypes are another value-added service, whereby JWP's machine shop can make one-off prototypes and help clients modify or redesign them with the assistance of its engineers and in-house tooling department.
It's this type of assistance from JWP's staff that Madau says is crucial in helping customers get what they require. With work experience in a variety of different companies, JWP's multi-cultural staff (representing cultures from "at least six different countries," he says) contributes diverse skill sets that enable the company to attack a problem from many different angles.
"We have a staff with experience in electrical engineering, psychology, child development, mechanical engineering, military intelligence, accounting, real estate, sheet metal, construction, and plating, just to name a few, " says Madau. "When we sit down to look at a customer's needs or problem, there is no box to think outside of, there is no idea that cannot be explored, and we do not approach it with just a machine shop mentality. We are constantly exploring new technologies, as well as purchasing new state of the art equipment.
"JWP is not a machine shop that just makes parts; we are always looking at ways for improvement, with new technologies, new equipment, or new processes," Madau summarizes. "We look at each challenge as an opportunity to excel!"
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