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April 2004: American Machinist


Phoenix, AZ-based PMC Machining (www.pmcmfg.com) manufactures and machines what the firm's president, Mark Porter, calls 'high purity targets' - products that are used in the flat panel and display industries. These include parts for laptops, CRTs and big screen televisions.

The company, established in 1987 by Porter and his brother Rick Champion, who serves as vice president, has 35 employees and two manufacturing and machining facilities comprising 30,000 square feet. PMC Machining initially opened its doors to specialize in close tolerance aerospace machining, with an emphasis on large production runs. In 1996 the company entered the thin film target business, supplying architectural and residential glass coaters. Two years later PMC Machining began producing 3N5 purity chromium for the flat panel market. In 1999 the company began chromium/chromium alloy production for thin film magnetic memory disks.

Today, PMC Machining's primary markets include:

  • North America and Southeast Asia architectural and residential window producers
  • U.S. web coating and anti-reflective film producers
  • U.S. and Southeast Asian thin film disk producers

"We're different from a saw house since we don't subcontract saw work for the general public," Porter said. "All of our sawing is for our specific requirements only and we have been able to cut products fast and efficiently so we can move them to the other processes within our business."

Porter said the key to satisfying these unique requirements has been the machines from La Mirada, CA-based Amada Cutting Technologies (ACT; www.amadabandsaw.com). PMC Machining utilizes three bandsaws - the H1300, HA700 and HFA250W; and one plate saw, the VM3800. All of the machines are currently running 20 hours per day, six days a week. Target materials include:

  • Chromium and chromium alloys 2N8 purity to 3N5 purity
  • Titanium CP grade 4 to 4N5 purity
  • Aluminum 3N, 4N, 5N
  • Nickel chromium alloys 3N, 3N5
  • Tin 4N
  • Zinc, zinc-tin alloys 3N, planar and rotatables
  • Copper backing plates, boats
  • Stainless steel 304/316

Porter said PMC Machining uses the H1300 for cutting tough materials.

"One of our cuts on the H1300 took eight hours to complete - it would have taken our competitors using another model at least three days," Porter said.

The bandsaw's 52" diameter capacity is especially useful for cutting various bar cross sections to length. In addition, PMC Machining uses the patented band-deviation monitor to monitor the position of the blade throughout the cut. The monitor displays actual real-time blade deviation readings, which enables the H1300 to be adjusted for the fasted, most economical cutting rates.

"Our operators can also use the work holding vices to move remnant pieces from behind the blade to the front for easier unloading,' Porter added.

The HA700 is used for large-capacity cutting jobs, up to 28" in diameter.

"The bandsaw enables us to avoid the need for manual material positioning and blade-height adjustment," Porter said. "Because it has automatic indexing, we can set up programmable dimensions and not have to worry about operator error. We simply set the back gauge counter to the number of pieces to be cut and the required cut length; and we're ensured of continuous, accurate cutting with a minimum of noise."

The HFA250W is used for high production round cutting.

"We get a tremendous bang for our buck with this bandsaw," Porter said. "It's smaller than the other models but incredibly durable - we use it for high purity alloys, titaniums and carbides. We have been running the HFA250W almost non-stop for 10 years now with literally no downtime. It's also easy to maintain and service."

Porter added that another key attribute of the HFA250W is its NC index control, which provides greater flexibility and expanded capabilities compared to a machine with relay logic. In brief, the controller enables PMC Machining operators to specify the index home position - forward and clamped or at the index position for open. The controller also determines the speed of the index vice motion forward and reverse, and provides independent ramp cycles for the forward and rear traverse. The speed ramp up and down for moving the work piece is slower when it is positioning the work piece than when it is moving without work - this provides more accurate indexing of the work piece.

PMC Machining has used the VM3800 plate saw for about six months.

"We use it for the same product lines as we do for the HA700, but because it has a 130" length capacity, we can still easily maintain a 36" x 130" depth cut," Porter said. "The VM3800 has proven very versatile for us - we put it on the floor for one product line for one overseas customer. Without it, we would have had to sublet this work out. The plate saw has created a new revenue stream for us."

The VM3800 provides PMC Machining with smooth, pulse-free operation with high torque at table speeds as slow as 0.3mm per minute (0.1" per minute) and rapid table positioning up to six meters per minute (19.7 feet per minute). Porter added that the slow, smooth table speeds are useful when cutting materials like titanium, difficult alloys of stainless steels or work hardening tool steels when their thickness is close to the machine's maximum height of 600 or 800 mm (24" or 32").

Porter said downtime on all of the machines is less than one percent annually and the ability to get replacement parts quickly has been another factor in staying with ACT's product line.

"We'll probably purchase another H1300 and VM3800 in the near future," he said. "The bottom line is that we envision rapid growth over the next few years and the additional bandsaws and plate saws will enable us to better service our customers - it's a winning combination."

Return to: 2004 Feature Stories