Machining Center Expands EDM Business

As a supplier to leading parts manufacturers in such varied industries as appliances and automobiles, this shop was only initially handling the intricate and complex work on parts with its EDM machines. Outside companies would machine the base parts and all the less intricate details. Then they would return the parts, where they'd add the intricate details to each part.

Case Study From: 6/1/2001 Modern Machine Shop

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ColchesterCNC CV machining center

Wiesen EDM expanded its business when it began using a ColchesterCNC CV machining center to machine parts from CAD data. The company not only reduced shipping costs for its customers, but it also doubled the workload on its EDM machines.

Since 1993, Wiesen EDM of Belding, Michigan, has been providing electrical discharge machining and milling services. Brothers Matt and Jeff Wiesen started the business with a single wire EDM machine and have escalated to five Charmilles EDM machines. As a supplier to leading parts manufacturers in such varied industries as appliances and automobiles, Wiesen was only initially handling the intricate and complex work on parts with its EDM machines. Outside companies would machine the base parts and all the less intricate details. Then they would ship the parts to Wiesen, which would add the intricate details to each part.

Although business was expanding, Jeff Wiesen saw an opportunity to handle all the machining work for the entire part. “I strongly believe that if you don’t move forward, you’re going to move backward,” explains Mr. Wiesen, “So I wanted to find a way to go after the entire job so that we could increase the amount of business we had.”

That’s when Mr. Wiesen explored vertical machining centers. He purchased a machine but found the service was lacking and disposed of the machine. According to Mr. Wiesen, “I’ve got 18 guys working two shifts and sometimes around the clock. We can’t afford downtime.”

Then he purchased his first ColchesterCNC CV machine and discovered a perfect fit for his operation. “It was easy to train my guys, and we got a quick return on our investment. I was especially impressed with the service—they went above and beyond the call of duty with me,” says Mr. Wiesen.

He immediately picked up more work from his customers. “With a ColchesterCNC CV machine complementing our EDM business, we could get the whole job instead of just a part of it,” Mr. Wiesen notes. In the process of gaining more work and thus more profits, Mr. Wiesen discovered an added benefit for his customers. A good percentage of his customers were out of state. Prior to Mr. Wiesen doing the whole job, his customers would ship him the part they had completed, and he would provide the EDM component and then ship the finished part back to them. With the CV machining center, his customers could supply him with the CAD data. Mr. Wiesen could then cut the costs associated with shipping the parts to his facility by purchasing the raw materials locally and thus making the entire part to the customers’ specifications. Therefore, the only shipping costs were for the finished part.

Mr. Wiesen found his machining center to be a functional and reliable complement to his EDM machines. Seeing profits from the addition of the first machine, he bought another CV machine to further expand his operation. Now with two CV machining centers running, he has doubled the workload of his EDM machines. Following the success of his first two machines, Mr. Wiesen plans on adding a third machine.

“The ColchesterCNC machines complement my wire EDM department . . . We’re a much more proficient shop,” adds Mr. Wiesen.

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