Significant investment has been made in The Ferrite Gateway Machine Shop to offer customers a complementary service to provide custom gapped and machined ferrite cores. Representing EPCOS, TDK, Ferroxcube, Fair-rite, Magnetics Inc. and Tokin, Gateway already stocks a vast range of ‘standard’ gapped cores as well as a comprehensive portfolio of ungapped ferrite cores. The machine shop facility now gives customers across Europe the opportunity to have cores gapped to bespoke inductance, AL or dimensional specification without the hassle of high minimum order quantities or extended factory lead times.
At the Machine Shop we understand that our customers may need ferrite core gapping and machining services to achieve AL values that aren’t readily available direct from the manufacturer; some customers may require adjustments to a standard core geometry or dimension to meet their specification. Others might require cores splitting and gluing to create new geometries. At Gateway we pride ourselves on our CanDo attitude and have a reputation for rarely turning anything away.
At the heart of our machining programme is quality control. Our Machine Shop processes are embedded into the company’s operating system, with production works order scheduling system to manage each job with accuracy and integrity, offering job progress tracking at every stage. Our ATE test equipment results are recorded and maintained electronically with every job record to provide our customers with the quality assurance statistics they demand. We take great pride in being able to machine to inductances with 1% tolerance and dimensional machining within +/-0.005mm.
The Machine shop is able to manufacture new core geometries from ferrite plate, block, rod, toroid, or button cores and has also developed the expertise to glue multiple geometries to custom design assembled parts. All finished parts can also be marked to customer specifications using indelible ink or core etching.
Despite holding one of the largest stockholdings of ferrite cores in Europe, there will always times where customers may wish to free issue stock for gapping or machining. All free issued materials are received into our quality control environment and are treated with exactly the same high levels of inspection and handling integrity as materials directly received from our manufacturer partners, with full batch traceability being maintained.
Gateway had adopted a flexible working system which enables it to flex its manufacturing capacity to meet urgent customer requirements whilst maintaining a standard processing lead time of 4 weeks. Urgent demands, including prototype supply, can often be turned around in one week.
For high volume requirements we can offer access to competitive supply direct from our manufacturer partners, however, where short lead times or smaller volumes are required, or where geometries are too complex for standard pressing techniques the Gateway Machine Shop can deliver in time and to specification.
Every job that passes through the Machine Shop will have a dedicated CAD drawing drafted by one of our team of trained engineers to meet the specification requirements of the customer. After customer approval of the drawing and any agreement on First Article Inspection samples, the job will be committed to the machine shop schedule.
The Machine Shop schedule planning is maintained with the production works order system embedded in our operating system. After drawing approval is received and the works order is raised the customer will receive an indication of job completion dates based on machine loading. The Gateway operating system has live updates for sales staff so that they can monitor the progress of machine shop jobs, and report any changes to schedules where appropriate. In some cases capacity adjustments may be possible to expedite urgent customer requirements.
Test and measurement
The Machine Shop has developed exacting standards and test procedures to ensure everything that is shipped meets the specification outlined in the drawing.
We stock a large range of standard test coils which are all wound to ensure the full winding area is filled with 100 turns of wire; ensuring the winding is evenly distributed over the gap which increases test accuracy. As well as standard test coils, The Machine Shop can use customers test coils and test to their exact specification.
Substantial investment has been made in a wireless probing system that allows measurements to be taken in three dimensions with up to 0.001mm repeatability. The probing system is driven by our CNC system and provides customers with absolute measurements that they can rely on.
The Machine Shops standard test procedure is to sample batch test the finished cores to ensure the specification is met. The test results are electronically stored against the works order job and can be recalled at any stage. The Machine Shop is able to offer 100% testing and can also offer a First Article Inspections service, based on our own standard template or adjusted to match the customers test requirements.
Ultrasonic cleaning and packaging
During the machining process coolant is used to control temperature effects, reduce tool wear and control airborne particulates. After machining, the ferrite is often left with a deposit of ferrite sediment that needs to be removed. The ultrasonic cleaning bath is used to remove the ferrite sediment using environmentally friendly cleaning agents, and then the cores are air treated at room temperature prior to packaging. All ferrite cores are securely packaged in polystyrene shipping containers and/or secure vacuum packaging to avoid damage when in transit. Standard or customer bespoke labelling will then be affixed to the packaging and relevant test documentation will accompany each batch of material supplied.
Standard Processes Include
- Centre limb gaps – AL, Inductance and physical gaps
- Profile and contour machining – Chamfers and Fillets
- Hole Cutting – Small drill holes – large bores
- Full 3 axis CNC machining
- Custom core geometries from blocks
- Toroid splitting
- Toroid air gaps – small slots to large gaps
- Slot cutting
- Rod machining – Cutting, Length reduction
- Ferrite gluing
- 3-axis NC surface grinder
- 3-axis CNC Milling machine for high precision machining
- Table cutting system
- Wireless probing system
- Ultrasonic cleaner
- AL & Inductance values down to +/- 1%
- Dimensional values down to +/- 0.005mm