In-house wire EDM added


Worcestershire subcontractor Styles Precision has added wire EDM to its in-house subcontract machining capabilities.

The company says the investment in a new Sodick ALC600G from Sodi-Tech EDM is helping to attract more work from both existing and new customers.

Styles Precision has been growing year-on-year since its inception in 2002. With  turnover in excess of £2 million, the 20-employee, ISO9001-accredited company occupies two modern units near Kidderminster that total 13,000 ft2 in size.

With a focus on subcontract manufacturing, Styles Precision specialises in precision CNC turning and milling, including five-axis machining.

“We tend to buy high-end machine tools, an ethos that we’ve transferred to our first wire EDM, a Sodick ALC600G, which we bought with the help of a successful grant application via the RDPE Growth Programme,” explained the company’s Managing Director Tony Styles. “Investing in top-end machines helps us to attract high-value work, often in energy and power-related sectors such as steam turbine, renewables and oil and gas."

Styles Precision previously subcontracted its wire EDM requirements, maybe not enough to consider buying a machine, but the company knew there would be additional opportunities if it could offer wire EDM in-house. Therefore, the company concluded that investing in the Sodick ALC600G would be a logical step forward.

Installed in March 2021, the machine is proving a great addition to the business.

“We’ve already been busy wiring many different parts, including special profile gauges,” says Mr Styles. “Recently, we won a tender to manufacture a family of intricate, high-value steam turbine wear parts, which have a particular profile in the bore. We use profile gauges as an initial check of the labyrinth’s profile form during machining operations. In addition, the labyrinths themselves are split into numerous segments: we have around 240 specific segments to wire from machined rings measuring between 300 and 600 mm in diameter.”

Styles Precision chose Sodick because of its brand reputation and the support on offer from Sodi-Tech EDM.

Says Mr Styles. “We knew the latter point would be important as it was a new process and our first wire EDM: it seemed likely that we might need a little help in terms of technical support, service and back-up.”

Mr Styles said: “We have some fascinating projects on the go at present, so the ALC600G will make a big contribution to the ongoing success of our business, particularly as we will soon be running it lights-out. In addition, I won’t be stopping at just one machine. The Sodick will almost certainly create a lot of new opportunities that will eventually lead to requirements for further machines from Sodi-Tech.”

Styles Precision, which had a record-breaking year in 2020, anticipates that some of these opportunities will come from its existing customer base.

“Before we bought the machine we spoke with several existing clients, many of whom subcontract their wire EDM requirements: we now have a shot at winning this work,” says Mr Styles. “In addition, some customers previously didn’t give us milling and turning jobs because we couldn’t do the wiring. We didn’t know this until we did our research. So, thanks to the new Sodick, not only will we get wiring enquiries, we’ll also get more milling and turning enquiries. This is great for our growth as we’re an ambitious company and want to be twice our current size within the next five years.”

Beyond the energy industry, further sectors served by Styles Precision include pharmaceutical, engine test equipment, packaging and security. Indeed, the company is already planning to use its new Sodick machine in the production of strain gauge components for a pharmaceutical customer, ending the previous outsourcing of these parts.