The Willemin 408MT is a multi-process machining center dedicated to machining parts with complex geometry from bar stock or slugs. We spent a few minutes talking with Willemin expert, Scott Goudie, to learn why the Willemin is so efficient and what advantages it brings to SPM’s customers.
When did you get your first Willemin?
Exactly 2 years ago in 2018. We were trying to get into some of the more intricate medical parts. It gives us a little better edge on some of these parts.
How is the Willemin different from your other machines?
The Swiss machines are built for turning. The vertical milling machine requires multiple setups.The Willemin is a mill with turning capabilities. It gives us more versatility. With the Willemin I can do milling from multiple orientations. It’s a blend of the two machine platforms.
What advantages does the Willemin bring to the shop?
Set up on the machine is fairly easy especially if you’re doing a routine set up with a proven program. Once it’s proven out, you can leave the tools in there. If there is a family of parts that uses similar tools, there is enough tool capacity in the machine to have several setups in it so changing it doesn’t require changing the tools.
I’ve felt personally that prototyping on this machine is definitely much easier and faster to do than to set up a Swiss machine to run that volume. Our shop is more geared to high volume runs once we’ve proven a process. Also, turn around time is a big plus.
What parts do you machine on the Willemin?
Aside from the parts we transferred from the Swiss, they’ve been mostly medical parts. I’m working on an implant now. It’s a plate for children who are born with defects. It corrects alignment issues in the femur and hip bone. We’re also working on a part for meniscus surgery. So it’s mostly medical parts however we can make anything on the machine.
What advantages does the Willemin bring to your customers?
Reducing labor costs saves money. With the Willemin, we don’t need to transfer from a turning machine to a milling machine to produce a complete part. It’s all done in one cycle, saving our customers money.
Using the Willemin, we can cut our secondary processes for some of the parts. When we transferred parts from the Swiss to the Willemin we were able to eliminate all of the secondary processes and do it all on one machine. It gives us capability to complete the part on the machine.
It definitely makes the part more accurate. If you are relying on a person, each person is going to do it a little bit their own way. If you’re doing it on the machine, it’s going to repeat it accurately every single time.
Does the Willemin provide advantages for machining certain kinds of materials?
Yes and no. For some of the harder to machine materials we have cutting speeds that are achievable on the Willemin (42,000 RPM) that are not achievable in other machines. It’s the features of the part that dictates the machine we use. If it requires really small tooling, in order to manufacture it, you need high speed spindles. The features of the part make the Willemin more capable of machining the tiny details.
SPM is the proud owner of three Willemin 408MT machining centers. They are some of the most efficient machining centers available for complex parts, providing benefits for the company and its customers.