Original Date: 03/16/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : One-Stop Shopping
Over the past 34 years, Strite has grown from an eight-person machine shop to a 220-person facility specializing in high precision manufacturing and diversified problem solving. Strite manufactures high technology machined products for the aerospace, nuclear, defense, biomedical, electro-optical, and information technology industries. In addition, the company provides engineering and prototyping services to the scientific and research communities. Strite addresses new projects with highly skilled teams of engineers, metallurgists, machine artisans, business managers, quality control experts, and production experts. For maximum effectiveness, the company uses state-of- the-art computer programs (e.g., AutoCAD, Vellum) to run its computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines. Strite can also draw on its close ties with the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto for additional expertise when solving difficult problems.
Strite maintains a wide range of machining and metallurgical capabilities/tools including jig boring; laser welding; precision Swiss grinding and machining centers; and 30 modern CNC machines. The company is one of only three in the world that can perform electrical discharge machining (EDM) to specified tolerances on the order of 0.0001 inch. Using the latest in precision metal removal machine tools, Strite’s technicians determine the customer’s needs and perform such processes as material analysis, metal removal, EDM, grinding, turning, honing, plating, heat treating, deburring, and inspection to tolerances as small as 0.00002 inch. Technicians typically machine various materials (e.g., synthetics, plastics, ceramics) and specialty metals (e.g., inconel, titanium, magnesium, steel, nickel, brass, bronze, copper, iron) to exacting tolerances. Figure 2-1 depicts a precision set-up of a CNC lathe; the form grinding of cylindrical components; and the super precision chucking department.
With its can-do attitude, Strite found solutions to numerous, seemingly impossible problems. For the tire industry, the company designed tools that provide portable precision measuring capability where tolerances of less than 0.0002 inch are required on basic manufacturing tools with requirements of 0.002 inch at 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) from an optical inspection scope. Strite also developed extremely accurate perforation rolling tools to manufacture wire ribbon for use as heat sinks in oil and hydraulic fluid cooling. The uniqueness of this project was the thickness of the raw stock and the tolerance required throughout the manufacturing process. By applying lessons learned, precise machining skills, and material flow knowledge, Strite developed and produced a machine which proved to be more reliable, accurate, and productive in the manufacturing of the finished part.
Another heat exchange solution was Strite’s adaptation of miniature tube bundles for spectrum analyzer applications. The company developed and fabricated a miniature heat exchanger which consisted of 20 small tubes (0.042-inch outside diameter each) swaged inside one large tube (0.231-inch inside diameter). The placement and containment of these tubes would present a major manufacturing problem to most companies of this size. Strite, on the other hand, with its can-do attitude and corporate experience, performs this type of work as part of its daily operations. As a result, various industries turn to Strite when they need solutions to their manufacturing problems.
Strite addressed a very complex cryogenic cooling application for a satellite system. This system requires a flat spring that has a minimum operating life of 10 billion cycles at a continuous frequency of 60 Hertz. In collaboration with its customer and by using advanced materials and processes, Strite developed a process to mass produce flat springs with a life expectancy well in excess of one billion cycles. Strite expects to continue its development, and successfully meet the 10-billion cycle goal.
Flat springs are typically used in cryogenic coolers. One customer asked Strite to assist them in achieving measurable productivity improvements and cost reductions by developing new approaches in the manufacture of flat springs. The customer’s existing method involved fabricating the flat springs out of SAE 1075 carbon material, followed by heat treating, and then using EDM to manufacture the springs to specification. This approach was expensive and time consuming. The customer wanted Strite to make these springs out of 301 stainless steel. After reviewing the project, Strite recommended that flat springs made from 420 stainless steel (used in some compressor valve springs and surgical knives) be tested as well. Strite experimented with water jet and laser cutting methods on these materials, and chose the laser process as the best approach to reducing manufacturing costs. The 301 and 420 stainless steels were tested with the latter material emerging as the preferred option. By using 420 stainless steel and a laser cutting method, Strite is on the way to reducing its customer’s manufacturing costs for flat springs by more than 75%.
These are a few examples of Strite’s One-Stop Shopping capability. By providing its customers with best value solutions to difficult problems, Strite has gained a global reputation for engineering excellence in machining ultra precision components and subassemblies.
Figure 2-1. Ultra Precision Machining Services
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