Investing in Quality Keeps Wiegel Tool Works Growing
The formula for surviving and thriving in tough economic conditions?
For Wiegel Tool Work it’s simple -- invest in quality and deliver quality.
Located in Wood Dale, IL, about 15 miles west of downtown Chicago, Wiegel Tool Works supplies precision stamped electronic components, primarily to the automotive industry. The company also serves the appliance, communications, and energy markets among other emerging industries.
Wiegel specializes in tight tolerance parts from red metals including copper, bronze and brass, as well as other exotic metal alloys, aluminum, carbon steel and ferrous metal.
Aaron Wiegel, the third generation President of the family-owned business, heads up the current management team along with his younger brother Ryan, Project Manager, and his sister Erica, Prototype Manager. The current generation credits, not only their grandparents, but their recently semi-retired father Martin, for the solid financial foundation of the business.
“One thing my father prided himself on was keeping enough capital in the business and being conservative,” Ryan said. “Being financially solvent and sound has always been very important.”
Wiegel Tool Works has not only invested in high quality capital equipment, but in quality-ensuring processes that continually improve the products and services delivered to its customers. As a result, Wiegel has seen record growth while many of its competitors have gone under.
Wiegel’s expanding facilities reflect its recent growth. A 20,000 sq. ft. addition has allowed for additional manufacturing space, and the Wiegels recently purchased an adjacent building for warehousing that will allow for even more manufacturing expansion. In a few short years the Wiegel Tool Works facility has nearly doubled from 48,000 to 93,000 sq. ft.
“In the last five years we’ve experienced record production totals every year except 2009,” Aaron said. “And keeping up with technology has been the key. Our customers want quality parts, on time, and at a competitive cost.”
“We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the technology curve,” said Jerry Hampton, Wiegel Tool Works Sales and Marketing Manager. “We invest in state-of-the-art die simulation software and it makes our tooling prices more competitive. We install vision systems and keep them upgraded to insure part quality and zero defects. It’s a competitive marketplace, and technology gives us an advantage.”
Wiegel’s most recent press technology is a new Minster P2H-160 adjustable stroke press with a Minster feed and Machine Concepts precision straightener. Wiegel worked with Minster to get a larger bed size with the flywheel drive.
“The bed size is important because we work with a lot of large and complex tooling,” Aaron said. “We needed the flywheel for the speed, and the adjustable stoke is a great feature because of the flexibility. There are some days that we’ll run three tools in that press.”
“When you’re a contract stamper, it’s valuable to have a single press that is capable of so much,” Ryan added.
Wiegel Tool Works purchased a Minster E2H-450 with an infinitely adjustable stroke mechanism in 2006, and have experienced the value of utilizing a single stamping system for a variety of applications.
“No question. Anything 60 tons and up, Minster is the press for us,” Ryan said. “It’s about the technology, the durability and the long term value.”
Founded primarily as a tool shop, Wiegel Tool Works slowly evolved into a contract stamper, and today dedicates its state of the art tool shop and machining centers to only its stamping customers.
“We want to provide the extra value of designing of the tooling, prototypes, repair and build right here,” Aaron said. “A lot of die shops have gone out of business. Stampers need to build their own tooling to stay competitive.”
The Wiegels not only understand the value of investing in technology, but also the importance of efficiency.
“We have a dedicated process engineer and design engineer that focus on improving the overall efficiencies of our operation,’ said Aaron, who checks production on each of his presses from his smart phone. “Our efficiency team is dedicated to cutting costs, which affects our bottom line and allows us to be competitive.”
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