Ron Witherspoon, Inc. (RWI) specializes in the fabrication of high precision parts and in the development of the processes required to fabricate them economically. We have experience with a wide variety of materials, from aluminum and stainless steel alloys, extending to more exotic metals such as OFE copper, Glidcop, copper tungsten, molybdenum, Inconel, Hasteloy X, Nimonic 90, titanium, tantalum, niobium, tungsten (90, 95, and 99.9% pure), and barium titinate.
All work flowing through the shop is tracked on our computer network with a shop management software package (Visual Manufacturing) which supports both job tracking and scheduling and increases our QA/QC effectiveness.
Products and Services
RWI offers complete fabrication services. We perform virtually all machine work in our own shops, including milling (vertical, horizontal, and 5-axis), turning (manual lathe, CNC lathe, mill/turn, and screw machines), jig boring, laser welding, sinker EDM, and wire EDM, (with wire as fine as 0.0004" diameter). To support customers with rapid turnaround requirements, we have high-speed machining capabilities, with spindle speeds of up to 30,000 RPM. For any operation we cannot perform in-house, we have a large number of qualified vendors available from which we can select those that are specifically appropriate to a customer's job.
For customer with special development requirements, we have significant experience working in rapid prototyping environments. We can receive drawings either as hard copies or electronic files (on disk or via E-Mail). We develop and apply CNC fabrication methods using our in-house CAD/CAM software, including ProE, AutoCAD, Solid Edge, MasterCAM, Geopath, Esprit, Bobcat, and Impact.
RWI provides concurrent engineering services to help our customers identify the most timely and cost-effective methods of fabricating any particular part. Through our concurrent engineering services, we also consult with our customers on manufacturability issues, providing feedback that addresses how to modify designs to increase the quality of the finished parts and achieve more cost-efficient fabrication.
Quality Assurance and Control
RWI emphasizes the fabrication of parts exactly to our customer's specifications. To ensure that we accomplish this, we have seven full-time inspectors who utilize Mitutoyo, Zeiss, and Brown & Sharp CNC-based Coordinate Measuring Machines, as well as a series of optical measuring instruments to inspect and monitor all of our products. In addition, we have a Voyager 12x12 Optical CMM available for non-contact, high accuracy inspection. This CMM gives our inspectors a state-of-the art inspection capability, with a 0.16 micron accuracy.
Small Business Innovative research (SBIR)
RWI has been involved in the U.S. Government's SBIR program for a number of years. We have performed as a prime contractor to the Department of Energy SBIR, as well as a subcontractor to other companies' SBIR projects. In conjunction with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) at Stanford University, we investigated methods of manufacturing miniaturized linear accelerator structures that required a micron-level machining accuracy.
The work RWI did in developing these high accuracy machining methods has already allowed us to produce microwave circuits for a satellite communications system which were machined with a 2-3 micron accuracy. We are currently working with other customers to extend these machining methods for other microwave applications for both military and commercial applications.
Ron Witherspoon was born and raised in England, and started his career as a toolmaker at Napiers Ltd., a jet-engine maker based near Liverpool. "This is a good trade," he says, "and Silicon Valley is a good place to earn a living."
Mr. Witherspoon has worked as a machinist and process engineer for a number of high-tech stalwarts since moving to Silicon Valley 33 years ago. In 1978 he took a gamble: He sold his red 1965 Mustang convertible, cashed in his college pension, and used the $20,000 he raised to open a machine shop in a garage in Saratoga, California.