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A few glimpses "behind the scenes" in our tooling shop.
 

 WOLF ENGINEERING AT A GLANCE...

LOCATION:  Central Wisconsin

ADDRESS:  8946 Loberg Rd., Amherst Jct., WI  54407; Ph: 715-824-5055 - Fax: 715-824-3875 - Email: raw@thewidget.com

BUSINESS STRUCTURE:  Family-owned partnership

EMPLOYMENT:  Fewer than 10 employees

YEAR COMPANY STARTED:  1990

OWNER’S TOTAL YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY:  23

MAIN PRODUCT OR SERVICE:  Custom molder of plastic (polyurethane) parts: rigid solid, flexible solid, rigid foam, and flexible foam

PART SIZE LIMITATIONS:  No defined limits, but most parts are between one ounce and ten pounds

TYPICAL PRODUCTION QUANTITIES:  50 to 5000 pieces per year

SALES TERRITORY:  Entire U.S.

IN-HOUSE OPERATIONS:  Design engineering, pattern making, tool making, material compounding, production molding, some secondaries (painting, assembly, special machining).

PROCESS:  Room-temperature casting of polyurethane.  Proprietary methods developed by owner designed around optimal use of disposable materials, periodically renewed mold cavities, and low capital/equipment intensity for maximum product mix versatility. 

PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT LIST:  n/a (proprietary-- all production equipment is designed and made in-house.)

”PROMOTIONAL PLATITUDES”:  None. We avoid telling our customers we’re ”dedicated to quality,” ”highly respected in the industry,” and all the other customary hype.  Hearing it from them has always been good enough.

 

 
 


Here's what it looks like where we are. (All photos taken from our property.)

 
   

                          We're the size we are
             not because we're not able to grow,
                but because we are able not to.

     Companies with our capacity and diversity usually have to be a lot bigger. It's simple arithmetic. The greater your overhead, the bigger you have to be to break even. But our unique in-house expertise gives us an edge. We've skewed the curve in our favor, and yours, by routinely substituting creativity for capital.
     As a result, we inherently provide levels of personal service, responsiveness, and versatility that larger companies can only talk about. Meanwhile, we enjoy a friendly, relaxed work environment with relative freedom and autonomy. And what could be more fitting than a company able to operate efficiently at a smaller size than most, whose business enables its customers to be profitable at lower volume levels? It's sort of like practicing what you preach
.

 
 

 


Casual But Dedicated:  Key members of the Wolf Engineering crew.

 
 

 

Photo: Rodney A. Wolf

How did you come to be running a urethane molding business?

 

          A talk show host once asked Lee Marvin why he became an actor. He said like most young boys he wanted to be lots of things--baseball player, policeman, doctor, cowboy. Getting older, he sadly realized he couldn’t have them all; he had to pick one. But he found a solution. As an actor, he could do it all.
          In a way, that’s my reason for Wolf Engineering. As a child I excelled in science and math. But I was too interested in invention and practical applications to be tied down with a career in one field. So, despite being honored as one of the 40 most promising future scientists among the nation’s high school seniors*, I went for a business management degree at a university where I could concurrently pursue technical classes suited to my many projects.
          Four years later, having been nabbed by a mid-size manufacturer to develop and produce one of my inventions, I became acquainted with polyurethane casting. Captivated by the tremendous (yet largely untapped) potential of molding virtually any plastic part with very low cost tooling, I focused my efforts on developing process improvements to make it viable for molding moderate production quantities, including that frustrating volume range where most new products start, but at which few manufacturing processes can be economical.  So I guess it wasn’t surprising when I found myself increasingly surrounded by a diversity of new products that needed molding.
          It was around then I realized: Here was an outlet that could do for me what acting did for Lee Marvin. I didn’t have to limit myself to a single field of business or technical pursuit. I could dabble in them all, vicariously enjoying, through my customers, a steady stream of new and diverse challenges.

____________________________________________
*finalist, Westinghouse Science Talent Search, 1972

 

 
 

 

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Copyright 2005, Wolf Engineering. All rights reserved.
Ph: 715-824-5055 - Fax: 715-824-3875 - Email: raw@thewidget.com