A Look Inside: Gilman Precision’s Facility Built for Custom Solutions

Gilman Precision in Grafton, WI, emphasizes a clean shop, climate control and the use of several precise machines in creating its quality products.

Gilman Precision’s manufacturing floor is quite an impressive sight: shiny clean isles and organized tool benches pave the way for a productive, accurate machine shop.

“If you walk through our machine shop, we machine steel and cast iron and aluminum and other metallic pieces, however you don’t see chips on our floor, you don’t see dirty air — it’s always been the hallmark of Gilman to be a clean manufacturing workplace,” Owner Chris Hetzer said.

Cleanliness, organization and climate control are important factors in Gilman Precision’s ability to create customized components in an accurate and timely manner.

“The entire facility is temperature and humidity controlled, to help us produce the precision parts that we need to make, holding the sub-micron tolerances,” Hetzer said.

The 88,000-square-foot building has more than 50,000-square-feet of manufacturing space. The facility was built in 1989, with a spindle addition constructed in 1993.

“We control the climate in our spindle clean room and in our spindle grinding and finishing area to plus and minus one degree Fahrenheit, and that’s important so that, as we grind our parts … when we measure them today, we come back and measure them tomorrow, and they stay the same size,” employee Chris Hannert said. “ That’s critical so that when we mount the bearings onto the shaft or put them in to the bores — that they have the proper fits maintained.”

Gilman Precision also has three standout machines that play a specific role in creating quality, custom components.

“The SIP machining center is one of the most vital machines for producing our spindle components,” Hetzer said. “It’s probably the most accurate machining center in the world.”

The SIP is used to finish bore all of the spindle housings, bearing bores and shoulders for the spindles Gilman produces, Hannert said. The machine has a positioning and repeatability of one and a half microns or 60-millionths of an inch.

The Mazak is a machine the company purchased in 2005, and its addition has helped the company streamline the production of some of its components.

“It’s a dual-chuck machine, with a 40-tool changer, and we’re able to take a lot of parts that are made out of round stock and make them into square parts,” Hannert said. “That’s taken a lot of our processes that would take many weeks to filter through the shop and be able to reduce that to only a couple of days, so that really helps with our scheduling and making on-time deliveries.”

One of the largest machines in the shop, the Favretto grinder is used for finish grinding, especially on larger parts.

“Our Favretto grinder, its a 20-foot-long by 4-foot-wide by 4-foot-tall work cube machine,” Hannert said. “It can do very large parts, finish grinding. We utilize it in a way that on our harden ways slides — we grind the top surface, sides and under-lips all in one setup … that way we ensure that everything is flat, parallel and perpendicular all in one setup.”

Gilman Precision has been dedicated to the advancement of high precision solutions that improve efficiency and achieve longevity since 1952. The company develops customized slides and spindles for value-added engineers with exacting needs and standards, providing expert service for virtually any manufacturer’s equipment.

If you’ve got a question on ordering a spindle or slide, contact us at 800-445-6267 or sales@gilmanprecision.com.

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