In a race against time to produce solar cells to be used in space satellites, Lockheed Martin, a security and aerospace company, needed to procure fused silica substrates of very high precision to complete the top-priority project on time. The size of the fused silica parts had to be larger than that of a typical microscope slide, and optically polished to an ultra-thin thickness close to 75 microns. Their relentless search for a manufacturer that could provide the fused silica pieces with utmost precision and on time ended with Valley Design, an ISO 9001:2015 certified, ITAR registered manufacturer of substrates, wafers, windows, precision shims and spacers, and other flat optical and electro optical components. “We developed the processes needed to fabricate the parts and manufactured thousands of fused silica pieces with extremely high precision and unwaveringly consistent quality for eight months, and without a single reject out of 35,000+ parts,” says Erik Indars, President, Valley Design.
Valley Design works on stocked and customer-supplied materials, including glass, ceramics, fused silica, quartz, Aluminum Nitride, and exotic materials covering a wide spectrum. “We take on the hard CNC machining jobs in ceramics and hard materials that others might not want to take,” states Gunars Indars, founder and Senior Technical Director, Valley Design.
The firm combines its 4 and 5-axis CNC machining experience and high level of technical expertise of over four decades in precision machining and materials processing to manufacture ultra-thin, ultra-flat, super-polished, and high-tolerance optical and electro-optical components for critical applications in semiconductor, telecommunications, medical, aerospace, and research.
What distinguishes Valley Design from other players in the industry is that they provide materials and assistance for research and development projects from the prototype stage to the final fabrication of the product.
Clients often seek the Valley Design team’s expertise to understand the feasibility of production and the best available materials.
If success stories can define the quality of a firm’s products and services, Valley Design has a long tale to tell with new and repeat customers seeking their services every week. Nearly a half century in business, the company’s long client roster boasts of esteemed organizations like NASA, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Teledyne. Valley Design’s work with a client in the x-ray optical domain would be a relevant paradigm to illustrate their excellence in fulfilling all precision requirements. The client’s requirement was to develop a component using germanium with a thickness of one-tenth of a single hair, which was then to be bent into a dome shape. The component was being produced to measure sulfur content in diesel fuel, which Valley Design successfully delivered. Although the initial quote was for five numbers, the client was so impressed that they ordered thousands of pieces of the product over two years.
“In another instance, the client’s demand was to procure 96-percent Alumina 4 inches square, .003 inches thick. These were then diced into very small die with micron-level tolerances to produce semiconductor chips for cell phones worldwide. Valley Design worked around the clock, seven days a week to provide 500 parts per day, 10,000 parts per month for over a decade. The company has also worked with NASA on wind tunnel polishing, and with the oil drilling industry polishing valves. These tunnels and valves require very tight tolerances, extreme flatness requirements and highly reflective mirror finishes.
We take on the hard CNC machining jobs in ceramics and hard materials that others might not want to take
Taking their prowess in the world of precision and innovation a notch higher is yet another success story where the company produced aerospace components utilizing ALON Spinel material 8 inches in height and diameter into domes with extremely thin walls and tight tolerances. The team successfully completed the demanding job by retrofitting their five-axis fixtures and exceeding the automatic limits of the program running the CNC machine. What’s unusual about the company is that they can process a wide variety of materials from as small as .127mm square to larger than 450mm diameter, and has many thousands of finished parts available from stock.
The industry and customers are demanding more precision and that is where our specialty has become a requirement,” says Mandi Indars, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Valley Design.
In line with the trends, Valley Design will continue to offer matchless CNC machining expertise, tackling the most challenging jobs requiring micron tolerances and super-polished surface finishes.