Materials We Work With
Here at Thomas Engineering, we pride ourselves on creating incredibly accurate parts with our state of the art machinery. While we specialize in long production runs, we also are able to do custom jobs utilizing several of our state of the art machines We work every day with a large variety of materials such as, but not limited to:
Low Carbon Steel
We are equipped with several CNC vertical machining centers. High torque spindles, 4th axis capabilities, extended Z travel, wireless intuitive probing systems, and CAD/ CAM software allowing us to provide quality components in a timely fashion at a competitive price.
The Haas high-performance Super-Speed vertical machining centers provide the high spindle speeds, fast rapids, and quick tool changes necessary for high-volume production and reduced cycle times. Each SS machine features a 12,000-rpm, inline direct-drive spindle, an ultra-fast side-mount tool changer, and high-speed rapids on all axes. Our Haas includes a Wireless Intuitive Probing System (WIPS) allowing us to mill up to 5 times faster. WIPS saves time and money by guiding the operator through the job set-up process with easy-to-use templates. WIPS has the ability to define work offset coordinates, set tool length offsets, and perform in-process inspection within the program, for both part inspection and tool breakage detection.
Hexagon 4.5.4 SF
The Hexagon 4.5.4 SF has built-in vibration resistance, and provides a high accuracy of product measurements. The etched granite base defines the measurement envelope in the x and y axes. The machine provides precise dimensional inspection on all pieces scanned and integrates advanced thermal compensation to adjust for shop floor temperature gradients. The capabilities of this machine allow us to ensure proper measurements and details of complex pieces. The precision probing provides high accuracy rates with each cycle.
Haas Automation’s VF-2
This Haas vertical machining center has 762 x 406 x 508 mm xyz travels and is built using all American-made cast-iron components. Like every Haas machine, the VF-2 represents years of on-going refinement. Customer feedback coupled with the relentless pursuit of perfection sees advancements and design-enhancing changes incorporated directly into the production line every day here at Thomas Engineering.
Okuma GENOS L250
This is a multi-function lathe that is anything but basic. Built on a one-piece, cast iron base with a horizontal way system and hand-scraped headstock and tailstock mounting surfaces, this machine provides stability, rigidity and accuracy for a variety of applications. Available in with a 6″ chuck with a 13″ Z-axis travel or 8″ chuck with an 18.5″ Z-axis travel, the GENOS L-250 CNC lathe takes up as little as 30 square feet of floor space.
Thomas Engineering has been a provider of precision machining services for over 35 years. We are a full service CNC machine shop equipped to manufacture prototype or production quantities of custom metal or plastic parts. We specialize in working with a wide variety of materials including low carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, copper, and many plastics. Over the years we have developed a loyal customer base built on quality, service, knowledge, and trust.
We are equipped with several CNC vertical machining centers, high torque spindles, 4th axis capabilities, extended Z travel, wireless intuitive probing systems, and CAD/ CAM allow us to provide quality components in a timely fashion at a competitive price.
We are also equipped with a Mazak turning center and have the ability to outsource screw machine related products as well as precision surface and cylindrical grinding, heat treating, and surface coatings.
Quality control is important to us so we recently purchased a Hexagon 4.5.4. SF programmable coordinate measuring machine with PC-DMIS software enabling us to perform precision inspections and generate inspection reports.
Greg Vanasse, Owner
Greg worked for the original owner for over 30 years, before purchasing the company in 2013.
When he is not working hard, he is camping, hiking, snowshoeing or skiing with his lovely wife and three dogs. He has also been known to play a mean round of golf.
Tom, Resident Retired-Owner
Tom built Thomas Engineering from the ground up, and remains an integral part of our team.
Tom can be found in his home workshop, or bothering his amazingly patient wife, when he is not hard at work here!
Louise, Office Manager
Louise brings accounting/office experience, and the voice of reason to Thomas Engineering.
When she is not at her daytime job, or working diligently behind the scenes for us, she can be found enjoying the outdoors with Greg!
Neal began working with Thomas in 1998, took a short hiatus from our team and rejoined us in 2015.
He can be found, on occasion, playing golf with the boss, or cruising in his convertible with his wife.
TJ has been with us since 2016; as Greg's son he is quite familiar with the shop.
Prior to joining us he worked for a fish market highlighted on the short-lived TV show the Lobsterman.
Joe initially joined us in 2017; with little experience he is eager to take on anything thrown at him.
Prior to joining us he was working at a local Italian restaurant. When he isn’t working, you can find him out and about enjoying all that New England has to offer.
Small Machine Shop with Big Aspirations
How Thomas Engineering Used Metrology to Maximize Their Overall Efficiency
Thomas Engineering began as a small machine shop nearly 40 years ago in Coventry, RI. For Greg Vanasse, it all started when he was just out of high school, joining Thomas Laboissonniere in his one-man shop providing quality parts to a select number of clients. Turning this one-man operation into a two-person shop, Greg quickly learned the value of his labor. The shop used a woodstove as the primary source of heat.
A manual lathe, Bridgeport milling machine, and Kerney & Trecker horizontal milling machine were the 3 key pieces of equipment. At the time, Tom and Greg wore many hats. In addition to working as machinists, they also served as the in-house maintenance crew. “When I started at Thomas Engineering we had to fix everything ourselves. When we had maintenance issues, plumbing problems, or a leaky roof, we had to figure out what was wrong and take care of it. Calling a plumber or carpenter was never an option.”
Today, Thomas Engineering has upgraded to a larger machine shop. The operation manufactures small metal and plastic components for a variety of industries and companies, including Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. They started working with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, then Brown & Sharpe, roughly 17 years ago machining parts for Hexagon’s GLOBAL CMMs and Shop Floor machines. Now an eight-person operation, Thomas Engineering has expanded their production, producing thousands of components annually.
In an effort to improve quality and expand their inspection capabilities, Thomas Engineering purchased a Browne & Sharpe Microval, a manual CMM, about 15 years ago for quality inspection. As they continued to grow their client base, they needed to also increase their overall production. They needed a Direct Computer Control (DCC) machine that they could program and run automatically. With space limitations in the facility, they also needed a portable machine that could withstand a tough shop environment.
Vanasse decided on Hexagon’s 4.5.4 SF machine after talking with an expert from Hexagon. They liked the portability of the shop floor CMM as they are limited to the space they have, and unable to create a climate controlled area that is required for many other CMM models. The 4.5.4 SF machine is currently located next to a window, which in most cases would affect the temperature of the machine, impacting the accuracy of the measurements. A recent recalibration was done on this machine, in which the 4.5.4 SF impressively withstood this obstacle.
They use the 4.5.4 SF machine to inspect most of their intricate parts, or parts with many different features. “The inspection process can be very tedious, if you do not have the ability to create a program, and let the machine automatically perform the inspection,” said Vanasse.
To keep up with demand due to recent production increases, Austin Pilla, Inspector at Thomas Engineering, is tasked with programming and operating the CMM while also running CNC machining centers. Now able to automatically inspect parts, Pilla has the ability to multi task, allowing the company to run more efficiently. With the access to inspection reports, which most customers now require, Thomas Engineering can continue improving their overall quality while keeping their growing customer base satisfied.
Going from a small two-person shop to a growing business, Thomas Engineering’s core values remain the same: to provide exceptional quality product at a competitive price in a timely manner. Looking to the future, Greg looks to increase his inspection department to keep up with his increasing demand for quality products. Over the next 10 years, Vanasse anticipates expanding to a larger facility and increasing the operation’s overall capacity.