Growing Contract Manufacturer adds new machine to its Laser Lineup

Growing Contract Manufacturer adds new machine to its Laser Lineup

December 10, 2013 2:18:34 PM

A 26-person contract manufacturer that uses four laser machines may seem uncommon to those working in the laser machining industry. But for Fred Wilke of Wilke Enginuity, it’s just another day at the office—providing unparalleled quality and product turnaround for which his long-time customers are accustomed. Located in Hanover, PA, the 23-year-old company, Wilke Enginuity, Inc., has been using Mitsubishi Lasers from its inception. 


The company’s most recent purchase is the latest Mitsubishi Laser 3015 LVPlusII-40CF-R, joining the company roster with two 3015LVPLUS-40CFX machines, and the 3015HC-3016D. Wilke traded in two older machines via Mitsubishi’s pre-owned program, Encore, allowing the shop to grow with technology by purchasing both LVPLUS-40CFX machines.


 All three machines have been installed in the last three years, which is significant for a manufacturer of this size. When asked about his most-recent purchase, the 3015LVPlusII-40CF-R, Wilke says its performance lives up to its top-of-the-class reputation.

 
“It’s an awesome machine,” says Wilke. “We use it for everything and anything. Today, it’s a combination of railroad parts and government parts. Some parts are ½-inch stainless steel, and others are ½-inch aluminum.”


“Recently, we used it on a job cutting large, ¼-inch steel panels; each part was 600-plus holes,” says Wilke. “The cutting time was literally cut in half, and the quality was maintained, compared to other machines at half the speed. That’s a huge advantage, and allows us to be competitive. 


“The machines we have are already reliable, but the LVPlusIIhas all the bells and whistles,” says Wilke. “They’re all reliable machines that you don’t have to be afraid to walk away from; it’s nice to run them unattended.” 


Wilke notes that the piercing time of the LVPlusII is faster than any other machine, due to its newest innovation, Jet Pierce. He made the purchase to accommodate the company’s job volume.
“Our workload definitely justified another machine,” says Wilke. “We were so pleased with the productivity the LVPlusIIwas capable of that we upgraded. If we get that busy again, we will probably add another.”


Lasers Used Daily 


The LVPlusII suits Wilke Enginuity well, given that the majority of jobs require fast turnaround. 
 “Our accounts are across the spectrum: signs, decorative items, OEM parts—you name it, we’ve done it—from wood to stainless steel. And, we’ve cut a fair amount of plastics. It doesn’t get boring around here because we do such a wide variety of things.” 


Another notable machine at Wilke Enginuity is the 3015HC-3016D Mitsubishi Laser, purchased and installed in 1992. The company still uses this machine daily, not only for metal goods but also for wood, plastics, rubber gaskets, and exotic materials.


This 1600-watt hybrid “workhorse” has a moving table and Mitsubishi’s patented cross-flow resonator. Jay Olexy of Mitsubishi Laser distributor, Paradigm Metalworks, says a machine of this age and condition is fairly uncommon. 


“The machine is still operating on a daily basis, and at a high level of production,” says Olexy. “Not many competing contract manufacturers could ever hope to run the array of materials that Wilke does on the HC machine. It’s 16 years old, and keeps on chugging.”


Wilke Enginuity has been manufacturing a novel product—large Mylar footprint stencils—for 15 years using the 3015HC-3016D, setting them apart from the competition. The stencils are used for large machine installations. Produced in 5- and 10-foot sections, and up to 30 square feet, they’re popular with Wilke’s customer base. 


“If a customer is building a big machine system at a factory, they put it all together, disassemble it for delivery, and then reinstall it,” says Wilke.

 
The footprint stencil helps make the process more efficient by marking the plumbing, air line, electrical drops, and feet locations for machines on the floor, serving as a guide for the pre-installation work. 
“Some of the designs are pretty complex,” says Wilke. “I can’t imagine planning installation without the stencils.”


Future Goals 
Besides reliable laser machines, Wilke credits his employee roster and dealer support network as major positive impacts on the business. The company is already ahead of its current business strategy to double the Women Owned Small Business shop’s size in five years (Mrs. Julia Wilke is President of Wilke Enginuity). Currently, the company is one year into the plan. 


“Even though the economy is slowing down a bit, we’re ahead of schedule,” says Wilke. “We started a second shift about a year ago, and we don’t work as many overtime hours.”


Wilke and staff are always eager for more volume jobs, and are especially anxious to continue utilizing the new LVPlusII as much as possible.


“We’d definitely like to see more work, and more volume jobs,” says Wilke. 


The company manufactures parts that are used in a variety of industries, ranging from architecture, commercial work, government, agriculture and construction. Its customers include several Fortune 500 companies, many small- to mid-size manufacturers, and even mom-and-pop shops. Wilke Enginuity has several hundred regular accounts, some needing services only once a year.


A Rare Industry Ratio 


“Their number of laser machines to number of employees ratio is pretty extraordinary, and they serve all kinds of different industries,” says Olexy. “Wilke’s success is a testament to the quality of its personnel and to the technology in which they employ. I’m so proud to have them on my user list.” 
Along with the multitude of laser cutting part services, the company also offers many secondary operations, such as CNC machining, CNC forming, CNC lathe turning, CNC routing, welding and fabrication, as well as conventional services. 


Wilke Enginuity is currently updating its website and just finished final production on a new video highlighting its services and experience. Visit Wilke Enginuity online at www.wilkeenginuity.com for more information on services.

 

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