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Styles Precision brings wire EDM in-house with new Sodick ALC600G

Posted on 19 Jul 2021 and read 437 times
Styles Precision brings wire EDM in-house with new Sodick ALC600GTo eliminate the cost and lead times associated with outsourcing its wire eroding requirements, Styles Precision Ltd has invested in a new Sodick ALC600G supplied by Warwick-based Sodi-Tech EDM.

This bold investment move is also helping to attract more work from both existing and new customers as the company looks to continue its growth over the next five years.

Styles Precision has been growing year-on-year since its inception in 2002. From day one the company has strived for perfection and, as a result, has built a solid reputation. Today with a turnover in excess of £2 million, the 20-employee, ISO9001-accredited company occupies two modern units near Kidderminster that total 13,000ft2 in size. With a focus on high-quality sub-contract manufacturing, the company specialises in precision CNC turning and milling, including five-axis machining.

Managing director Tony Styles said: “We tend to buy high-end machine tools, an ethos that we have 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.

“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.”

Logical and exciting step forward

Styles Precision previously sub-contracted 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 and exciting step forward.

The ALC600G leverages the latest digital innovations in generator technologies and advanced electrode materials. Demonstrating considerable advances in cutting speed, accuracy and surface finish, this compact and fully enclosed Sodick machine offers the latest HMI with 19in touchscreen colour display. Travel in the X, Y and Z axis is 600 x 400 x 300mm respectively. Installed in March 2021, the machine is proving a great addition to the business.

Mr Styles added: “We have already been busy wiring many different parts, including special profile gauges. 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 600mm in diameter.”

Styles Precision initially considered three machines, but chose Sodick because of its brand reputation and the support on offer from Sodi-Tech EDM.

StylesHe explained: “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.”

The key to success at Styles Precision is recognising its core strengths and being able to apply its technical knowledge to the full. Collectively, the company’s focus is on quality, customer satisfaction and flexibility. This combined effort has enabled the business to grow its skilled workforce and continually invest in the latest machinery.

Mr Style said: “We are over the moon with our Sodick machine. We have some fascinating projects on the go at present, so the Sodick 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 will not 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.

Mr Styles concluded: “Before we bought the machine we spoke with several existing clients, many of whom sub-contract their wire EDM requirements — we now have a shot at winning this work. 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 will also get more milling and turning enquiries. This is great for our growth as we are 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.