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MTI have a total of 44 wire and sinker EDM machining centers. They have a mixture of Fanuc and Mitsubishi machines.

Since 1968 Micro Tronics Inc. have been at the forefront of EDM manufacturing for aerospace’s biggest names. “My grandfather John Marusiak Jr. first read about electronic discharge machines in the 50’s,” tells Charlie Marusiak. “He saw the possibilities, and after leaving the military opened Micro-Tronics with his wife Angie right here in the heart of Phoenix. They ran parts in the morning then delivered them to customers in the afternoon.” Charlie and his brother Johnny are the third generation of Marusiaks leading the business. Over the years various family members have run and worked at MTI including their grandparents, dad, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Today, Johnny and Charlie are CO-CEOs of Micro-Tronics. Johnny focuses internally on operations while Charlie focuses externally on sales and customer relations. They recently ascended into these roles after the company was led by the first ever non-family member in the company’s history for the last three and a half years. “This is 100% a family-owned and controlled business,” tells Charlie. “Johnny has been with the company formally for 8 years and I have been with the company 7 years. We both spent lots of time here growing up when our father, Bob, was CEO. We worked here in the summers in high school, so MTI has been a huge part of our lives. We are excited to lead the company into the next generation of growth.” The interesting thing about working at MTI is that family members must interview for their positions the same as anyone else. There is also the stipulation that they must have 2 years outside work experience relevant to the positions they seek. For Johnny and Charlie that meant working for a world-class manufacturer in an industry they love. “We both were fortunate to work for a world-class golf equipment manufacturer here in the valley,” explains Johnny Marusiak. “We love golf and PING is an extraordinary company to work for. We brought back so much experience to MTI. Seeing how a successful engineering and manufacturing company does business was a valuable part of our education.”

A typical part run on MTI wire EDMs. This particular part requires work on both their turning centers and Wire EDMs.

When you think about how a company has been in business for nearly 60 years, the first thing that comes to mind is they are good at what they do. Being good in the aerospace game these days isn’t enough; you must innovate to stay ahead. Micro Tronic Inc. has four buildings near Sky Harbor International Airport totaling close to 85,000sq.ft. and 110 current employees. The North Building is only metals, housing the CNC and EDM departments. The Main Building is engineering, inventory, maintenance, planning, assembly, and quality. The Elastomers Building is dedicated to the elastomer molding business while their East Building is support equipment, waterjet and material storage. They are NADCAP EDM and Elastomer Seals, ITAR Registered, AS9100, and ISO9001 certified. “We started as an EDM shop in 1968 and EDM is still at the core of what we do,” tells Charlie. “Since 1968 we have expanded our competencies considerably and now are proud to offer EDM machining, traditional CNC machining, Elastomer molding, and mechanical assembly services to our customers.” 

“As it relates to our EDM and CNC business, we stand above competitors with our competencies in both EDM and in advanced CNC machining. Many shops claim that they do too, but they’ve got one wire EDM machine in the back corner that they turn on once a month for a single part. It goes the other way too. An EDM shop might have a couple mills and lathes as support, but it isn’t the same as having 5 axis systems and an entire production department for milling and turning like we do.” MTI was born as an EDM company, and still is, but over the last few years they’ve invested heavily into traditional CNC machining including automation systems to enable around the clock production. They truly shine when they can combine all their skills in CNC, EDM and elastomer molding.

Left – MTI also offers Fast Hole EDM (aka EDM Drilling) services which it usually uses as a support function for the Wire EDM business.
Right – MTI relies on 55 years of experience in their EDM Department which makes them leaders in EDM Manufacturing.

MTI really went after the CNC business in recent years. “We are happy to do just the EDM burns for our existing customers,” explains Charlie. “But with our competencies in both CNC and EDM machining, we can go after the whole pie and not just take a slice. It really helps customers when we can offer a full turn-key solution.” “We are contract manufacturers, build to print, historically in aerospace,” continues Johnny. “Tight tolerances, high precision is where we live. We’ve been doing that since 1968. There are lots of CNC milling and turning shops out there, but that isn’t who we are. We are a vertically integrated contract manufacturer that relies on our triple competence to serve customers. Some people still view us as only an EDM shop, but we are so much more than that. We have 3 distinct capabilities: EDM Machining, CNC Machining, and Elastomer Molding. CNC plays a pivotal role at MTI feeding both the EDM and elastomer molding sides of the business, as well as being its own revenue source. The challenge of any job shop is how to be efficient when you have a wide variety of customers and parts. Though not a job shop, we still have a large mix of what we do. Our thought process was making our extensive CNC capabilities more of a presence. Let’s make it less of a support commodity and more of a strategic plan to market as value added to existing and new customers.”

EDM is an interesting and unique skill set. Ninety nine percent of MTI’s EDM work requires traditional CNC machining as well. They get a lot of farmed out final process EDM type parts from other shops who don’t have either sinker or wire EDM (or are not Nadcap). “We are now targeting opportunities that we can do the entire project,” explains Charlie. “We were in a new large OEM facility earlier in the month and you could see the lightbulb turn on when they realized we could be a single source for this particular family of parts. He literally said “a lot of our vendors are sourcing their EDM work at MTI. You are doing the hardest features, why don’t we go directly to you?” It was music to our ears, but really it is a win-win for us and them. One stop shopping is more efficient for the customer. The customer gets a single lead time, better pricing, and most of all better quality. Not because these other companies don’t do good work, but because there are fewer steps, processes, and people handling the parts. EDM is usually the last step in the process, but that isn’t always the best way to manufacture certain parts with extreme tolerances. By controlling everything in house at MTI, we have the freedom and flexibility to run the part the absolute best way and optimize for both cost and quality. For example, we may EDM a feature before putting it on our 5-axis mill which is opposite of how most might run that part. Lead time, quality, cost, complexity is all affected. When we control all those aspects from the start it is better for the customer.”

Left – MTI’s milling department is made up of 3/4/5 axis machine tools from Haas, Brother, Doosan and Mazak. MTI is researching their next milling center now. They expect to purchase a new horizontal 5 axis with a generous pallet pool for added lights out running. Right – MTI’s turning department is a mixture of Doosan and Mazak lathes. Adding a mill turn is on their short list of upcoming capital investments.

Johnny has been working to streamline practices throughout the company. Clearing out unused machines and replacing the dinosaurs with new state of the art machining centers was a top priority. They started with more than 50 wire and sinker EDM machines and now are down to a slim 44. The milling and turning departments also got a facelift with new Brother and Doosan machining centers. They also have plans for additional automation with plans for machine tending solutions in the near future. “We are scaling up the departments in both EDM and CNC,” tells Johnny. “It’s easier to justify larger capital equipment spends when you have volume to support it. So, we’ve been aggressively adding more volume, feeding all departments, and in doing so adding machines throughout the plant.”

“The lean journey isn’t just reducing cycle times,” adds Johnny. “We look at every aspect of the company as a way to reduce waste. A good example comes from our assembly department. We have gating items that are required to assemble a component. We can’t put this assembly together because we’re missing that one detail component. Way back when we used to have a system on a whiteboard that pretty much said we can’t do this job yet. It was cumbersome. We looked at it once a week because it was so tedious. Now that’s all automated by our ERP system. As soon as that gating item is in stock an email goes out that says we are ready for assembly, take it off hold and get it going. That really helps the process of moving parts within our business. Time is time, right? Everybody’s time is valuable, whether it’s the people at the front desk, people in assembly, or by reducing burn times.”

Left – The 5 axis machining centers take advantage of the 5th Axis.
Right – The table size on the Haas VF6 allows MTI to keep the 5th axis trunnion in place and still have room for multiple setups on the other side of the table.

Most of their parts are of a standard size, but don’t count MTI out on larger custom pieces. The nature of EDM means they need to adapt and find ways to fit a 48” mining saw blade on a standard size wire machine or burn features in a 8’ long military barrel. They can get really creative thanks to decades of experience. 

A recent job that was very exciting meant adding robotics to meet the customer’s demands. Due to the number of parts needed, MTI has recently added a Universal Robot to one of its lathes to feed it 24/7 and ensure MTI can supply the needed volume of parts for the customer.

MTI is headed further down the vertical integration path. “We realize the most value we can provide to our customers is to combine our internal processes. That means components that require machining and EDM or machining and elastomer molded features.” says Johnny. “We remain committed to investing in our people and our processes to ensure we are on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing technology and practices.” Says Charlie.

“We are a family held company, but not mom and pop anymore,” concludes Johnny. “It is becoming harder and harder for the smaller type companies to survive, particularly in aerospace with the regulations, NADCAP requirements and CMMC requirements coming down the line. The competition landscape is always changing and requiring everyone to up their games. We thrive when faced with such a challenge. MTI was founded on innovation and dedication, and a core belief of this company is continuous improvement. We honor our past every day by planning and building for the future.”