LTW Company Profile


LTW Automation was founded in 1915 as Lathe Tool Works on Tehama Street in San Francisco. The founder, Fred H. Lathe, was interested in photography and set up shop to work on photographic equipment. Mr. Lathe’s three sons later joined him in his business and were actively involved in the business for about 60 years. In 1937 Fred Lathe expanded and moved Lathe Tool Works to 37 Clementina Street, between Howard and Folsom streets. In 1975, John Long purchased LTW from the last remaining son (also named Fred Lathe). A mechanical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati, John Long changed the nature of the shop to include more engineering work, and then moved LTW to South San Francisco in 1980 where the LTW’s first CNC lathes were installed.

In June of 2000, LTW moved to Richmond California.

Current Profile

Richmond California Facility

The 6000 square foot LTW facility includes a clean-room, controlled finished goods storage, CMM QA facility, CNC shop, conventional machine shop, and crane and fork-lift lifting capacity of up to 15,000 pounds.


CNC Lathes including Mori SL4 and a Monarch 75 Universal with 10”x79” capacity turning or 20” chucking. A Matsura 20x40 CNC mill, and a Haas HV4 on order and due for installation in January 1998. Conventional equipment includes a Hardinge Tool Room lathe and a 24”x20’ gap bed lathe. Milling from Hardinge Precision to #3 Hitachi horizontal.


In addition to the traditional machine-shop work that LTW has always done, since 1985 LTW Automation develops automation systems. Past projects include robotic wafer-handling, tool-to-host and tool-to-tool communications, process control and process-recipe management, pneumatic and electro-mechanical motion control, embedded software, etc.


In addition to the more traditional products manufactured by LTW such as twist-lock pins for container-ship cranes, acoustic stack-cleaning horns, pressure-regulating valves for fire-hydrants, foucault pendulums for museums, etc., since 1994 LTW Automation has been actively developing guided and autonomous vehicles for product movement in semiconductor clean rooms. A prototype of one of these vehicles has been demonstrated at Sematech and certified for clean room compatibility, safety, and reliability. LTW Automation is currently developing a product line of manual and automated tools and vehicles (AGVs) with host communication capabilities for use in 300 mm semiconductor fabs. Call and ask us about them.

ISO 9001 Based Quality Management System

LTW Automation is currently in the process of becoming a registered ISO 9001 facility. This means that LTW will join an elite group of manufacturing facilities around the world which have passed stringent audits based on ISO 9001 standards of management and operations. LTW Automation’s Quality System is designed to monitor product quality from the design process and selection and delivery of raw materials through the entire manufacturing process and delivery of the finished product.

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