GWS Tool Group is constantly in motion. In fact, we are such a dynamic company that you might not be aware of all the products and services we offer. This article is designed to provide a complete and updated overview of our capabilities. We think you will come away with a better understanding of who we are, our wide range of product and service offerings, the quality of those products, and why we are so easy to work with.
We are a US-based, vertically integrated, manufacturer of highly engineered custom, standard, and modified standard cutting tools. Through our Preferred Partner Program, we reserve most of our capacity and capabilities for our Key Distributors and the Core End Users that they serve with our products.
Our slogan, “Custom Comes Standard”, represents our goal to make purpose-built custom solutions as readily available as our standard products. In fact, over 80% of the products we sell are custom-designed for specific customer applications. The remainder stems from our full range of off-the-shelf product offerings featured in our cutting tool solutions catalog.
While we service all industries, we have particular expertise in the aerospace, medical, armament, and automotive sectors.
World Leading Capacity, But Nimble as the Guy Next Door
Through a series of acquisitions and subsequent integration, we have formed a dynamic team of highly skilled cutting tool experts spread across six manufacturing facilities in the USA. Companies are added to the mix when they offer particular expertise that fills a strategic and customer product need.
We employ over 400 employees and operate 200 plus CNC machines. Ten percent of our annual net revenue is reinvested in capital equipment. This number may seem high, but it is our philosophy to maintain excess capacity to meet customer demands, maintain ultra-fast turnaround times and seize opportunities when our customers present them to us. We would rather have idle machines than make a customer wait unnecessarily for the next open spot in the schedule. We feel this responsiveness is a major differentiator between us and our competitors.
Typical Turnaround Times:
- Simple modification: within 24-48 hours
- Thread whirling inserts: within 72 hours for first piece
- Custom end mills & drills on standard blanks – 2 weeks
- Custom taps – 24-48 hours
- Total complex custom form tools: within 6 weeks
Specialty cutting tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes; every application is different and we engineer and build tools specific to those needs. These can range in size from a 5¼” root form cutter down to a 0.040” micro tool.
Our Complete Tool product offerings include:
- End Mills
- Form tools
- Step drills
- Thread mills
- Keyway cutters
- PCD drills
- Threaded shank tools
- Round dies
- Thread gages
- Top Notch inserts
- Grooving inserts
- CBN & PCD-tipped inserts
- Ceramic & Whiskered Ceramic inserts
- Thread Whirling inserts
- Carbide inserts
Custom Comes Standard
The custom tools we design are purpose-built, by industry and application. For example, for aerospace, where composites make up 50% or more of modern commercial aircraft, we produce an assortment of custom drills and reamers with brazed threaded adaptors. These are designed to accommodate the manual air-driven tools used to perform the majority of holemaking in the fuselage and wings. On the engine side of aerospace, we developed tools like our AlloyCatTM whisker-reinforced ceramic insert for turning nickel and cobalt-based super alloys at metal removal rates 5-10 times higher than carbide.
Chamber reamer machining for gun applications is almost always going to require custom tools, and recent designs from our holemaking division are averaging 3-5X tool life versus the competition. For medical applications, we designed the “Zombie” thread whirler insert, so-called because you just can’t kill them, and their win rate is over 95%. These are just a few examples. Talk to your local distributor and give us a challenge, the more difficult the better. We’ll work with you to make the tooling that fits your particular needs.
GWS Engineering Support
How does custom tooling happen? The process begins with a customer need that can’t be met by an off-the-shelf product (such as the examples above). The first thing our engineering team does is sit down with the customer to understand the requirements. They can work from prints, a sample part or even napkin drawings. Our Inside Sales and Engineering Departments will put together a concept of a tool and how it can be applied. A quote is submitted and an order processed. Approval prints are created, proofed, and signed off on. (Communication is a key element.) We manufacture the tool, coat it in-house (if the coating is deemed necessary), and ship it to you. The entire process takes a fraction of the time you would expect.
Even after we supply you with the perfect tooling for your application, we still have something more to offer. The GWS Reconditioning Program can give new life to your drills, step tools, PCD & CBN inserts, form tools, end mills, and ceramic inserts. Our Custom Regrind Portal lets you follow the status of the process every step of the way. All brands of tools are accepted. We’ll even hold your reconditioned parts in inventory and send them to you JIT through our Preferred Distributor partners.
That concludes our snapshot of GWS Tool Group. Keep in touch for new developments (click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter) because we’re always on the lookout for better ways to serve you. Contact us for more information. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.