Case Study: EDM Not afraid to invest

Editor: Steffen Donath

While the pandemic year of 2020 has been tough for many businesses, Excel Precision is bucking the trend, recording several consecutive months of record sales figures.

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The machine, which is sited at the company’s Birmingham facility, adds to an identical model at its Gloucester site – and becomes the sixth Sodick EDM across all three Excel Precision locations (Leeds, Gloucester and Birmingham).
The machine, which is sited at the company’s Birmingham facility, adds to an identical model at its Gloucester site – and becomes the sixth Sodick EDM across all three Excel Precision locations (Leeds, Gloucester and Birmingham).
(Source: Sodick)

Founded in 2011, Excel Precision has grown rapidly to become a leading UK provider of EDM services to sectors that include aerospace, defence, oil and gas, petrochemical, nuclear, bio-medical, automotive, motorsport and white goods. The UK’s reliance on a number of these industries during the pandemic has helped the 30+ employee company to thrive.

“We’ve remained fully operational throughout the pandemic as we are acutely aware of the importance of the services we provide our customers, many of which help ‘keep the lights on’, such as those in the power generation, nuclear and oil and gas sectors,” explains Tony Sitek, Director of Business Development and the company’s majority shareholder. “A consequence of remaining fully operational was record months in terms of revenue in April, May, June and July. Excel Precision has always held a very strong position in the market place, however our performance during the pandemic has shown both existing and new customers our commitment to providing the highest levels of service in the most difficult of circumstances.”

“The reason we can assist new clients so readily is that we’re not afraid to invest,” states Mr Sitek. “We’ve invested 1.2 million pound since January 2019, with new machines going into all three of our manufacturing facilities. If we fill up a shop, we buy another one. We started with Leeds in 2011, adding Gloucester in 2013 and Birmingham in 2019, doubling our capacity each time. In the process we’ve slowly been replacing older machines with the latest manufacturing technologies — faster, more accurate and more energy efficient. This strategy has allowed us to increase turnover by 100 % in the past three years alone.”

A case in point is the newly arrived (July 2020) Sodick ALC600G wire EDM for the company’s Birmingham site, which specialises in both the military and commercial aerospace sectors. Excel Precision holds approvals with a number of leading aerospace OEMs, and carries AS9100 rev D certification, as well as NADCAP AC7116/3 rev B approval for both wire and spark erosion.

“When we acquired the Birmingham site it had been under-invested for many years,” explains Mr Sitek. “We identified the need for a new CNC wire EDM machine to help the facility make parts quicker, more efficiently and more competitively, all while retaining the highest levels of accuracy and surface finish – the Sodick ALC600G has brought all that.”

Excel Precision first switched to Sodick technology last year when trials revealed far quicker component cycle times — for less energy consumption — than could be achieved using its existing machines.

“We took the plunge and acquired our first two Sodick machines [for the Gloucester site] in January 2019, since when we haven’t looked back,” says Mr Sitek. “The latest Sodick ALC600G wire EDM is already making parts. Around 98 % of what we do at Birmingham is aerospace work.”

He continues: “Sodi-Tech EDM have surpassed themselves in my opinion. The back-up and aftersales support have been tremendous throughout all of our machine investment projects.”

Moving forward, Excel Precision remains on the lookout for further companies to acquire as it seeks expansion into other parts of the country.

“The UK does not have many subcontract EDM shops,” says Mr Sitek. “There’s probably around 25-30, a high proportion of which are owner-operator businesses. We are different. The way for us to grow is through the acquisition of like-minded companies. Currently, across our three premises, we have 32 CNC wire/spark erosion machines, which I think would define us as the UK’s largest provider of subcontract EDM services. And we will only get bigger.”

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