Tolt Machine Works, Inc. (TMW) completed phase one of its new machining production facility 35 miles east of Seattle, WA. When complete in 2012, Tolt’s capabilities will include; Large 5-Axis Machining, Large Metrology, Laser Micromachining, Fabrication and Design and Electron Beam Welding. Tolt Machine Works has ambitious future plans to pioneer new technologies using some big old vintage machines.
It is not just the machines that are special at TMW. Located in western Washington near several aerospace industry giants, Tolt Machine Works has also attracted some machining veterans including David Muth who possesses over 31 years of machining and CNC experience including 8 years at the GKN Aerospace and 23 years at The Boeing Company. At GKN’s chem-tronics thermal joining center, David served in many roles including; machining lead, project management for F-22 Aft Boom interim and final machining, manufacturing planning, buyer, supplier quality assurance, quality assurance lead, manager for the CMM department, quality assurance and manufacturing quality engineer for the vacuum stress relieve department. Prior to GKN, David worked for The Boeing Company where he was integrally involved with every machining discipline in tooling fabrication and production machining including; close tolerance holes, complex castings, complex weldments and hard metals.
Titanium 6AL4V has been his mainstay for the past 15 years including performing cutting tool tests on Ti5552 for Boeing and the 787 program. Tolt’s team also includes Tom Demogines and Doug Coombes, who collectively bring over 60 years experience in the field of metrology applications, coordinate measurement and quality management. While at the helm of TMW’s Wire EDM division is Horst Binde, a well-regarded pioneer in field of Wire EDM Machining, a process that makes it possible to cut small odd-shaped angles, detailed contours or cavities and is typically used for hard metals like hardened steel as well as exotic metals like Titanium, Hastelloy, Kovar, Inconel, and carbide. Tolt Machine Works will focus on such exotic metals and provide access to a variety of machining services in one location, focusing on the increasing need for large, high-precision components of complex shape for wide range of applications such as wind, hydroelectric, and nuclear power; aerospace, naval, and military craft; scientific research and engineering test; and precision jigs and fixtures for a wide range of manufacturing. Effectively able to machine such large parts with precision, TMW will spotlight two core capabilities; the ability to fit large, heavy parts into machines that have large machining volumes and to precisely measure features over a large measurement volume in addition to other requirements for such machines than just size.
Oftentimes, large components must be machined out of exotic or difficult-to-machine materials such as high temperature nickel alloys, various grades of titanium, or large iron or steel castings. For example, most large machine tools in aerospace are optimized for machining of aluminum. They are light in order to attain high-speed, but cannot sustain the heavy, high-torque forces required for more difficult materials. In the measuring realm, there are laser systems coupled with portable arms that can measure precisely over great distances. Most of these systems are intended for machine calibration or for the measurement of a few critical dimensions. They require much labor to set up and perform measurements, especially when a part datum is difficult to reach. More extensive measurement needs can only be supplied by a coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Phase one at TMW included installing one of the world's biggest coordinate-measuring machines (CMM), originally sold by Italian manufacturer D.E.A. to Boeing in the late 1980s. With a measurement volume of X=500”(12.7m), Y=160”(4.06m), Z=100”(2.54m) it will be the centerpiece of TMW’s metrology department. Also now up and running is TMW’s EDM wire-cut division the result of a 2010 acquisition of Horst Binde’s EDM WIRE-CUT Northwest. EDM is most widely used by the mold-making tool and die industries as well as to manufacture prototype and production parts, especially useful in the aerospace, medical and electronics industries.
Tolt Machine Works has begun expanding its phase 2 capabilities including the installation of two electron beam welding units, as well as a laser micromachining facility and fabrication shop. To tackle large complex manufacturing challenges, TMW is bringing online a large six-axis horizontal boring machine from the German manufacturer Waldrich Siegen in early 2012. The machine was acquired from a nuclear-power plant in South Carolina and provides a machining volume of X=300” (7.65m) by Y=96” (2.4m) by Z=96” (2.4m). Additionally there is a 120” (3m) diameter B-axis rotary table. The articulating headstock also provides an A-axis of +/- 135 degrees with a boring spindle of 6.3” (160mm). In the high-precision, complex parts realm, it is one of the few such machines on the West Coast with this capability available for outside work. The goal of Tolt Machine Works is to create make complex, high-precision components at both ends of the spectrum — large parts such as wind turbine housings or fixtures for building airplane sections, and small parts used for medical devices.
A Public Open House is planned for Thursday, May 19th 2011 for those that want to take a tour.