EPW began its initial conception in 1967 as Elkhart Pattern Works. EPW was at that time a true pattern shop servicing the many foundries in the Midwest by supplying hand crafted wood and metal foundry tooling for this sand casting industry. At that time EPW employed many skilled pattern makers that could “stick build” a wide array of pattern tooling and products from drawings or at that time milar (print with 100mm section grids, many times 30-40 ft. long). Many foundry pattern styles were very complex with many cores and required a high skill level to complete to level of accuracy that was needed. This was for many years a booming industry that many thought would sustain itself indefinitely.
The foundry business was strong for many years until the early 80’s when many of the foundries in the U.S. found increased pricing pressures from overseas. This had a dramatic effect on the level of pattern tooling needed here in the Midwest and subsequently the company then began broadening its core competencies into molds and tooling.
EPW was one of the first companies in northern Indiana to commission CNC machining capability and as EPW branched out into different fields they also greatly increased their engineering department and began specializing in highly engineered molds and tooling. This new market segment grew the company necessitating several plant expansions through the 80’s and early 90’s. EPW designed and built molds for many different processes during this time such as: vacuum form molds, foam molds, injection tooling, and glass encapsulation molds. As EPW broadened their focus towards the automotive sector they found themselves in a bit of a niche market with the highly engineered molds and tooling that only a few companies in the U.S. had the skill set and engineering expertise to successfully build.
In the late 90’s EPW began offering its customer base processing support and added a RIM (reaction injection molding) business segment that supported process prove out and sample part builds for all of their urethane tooling, foam molds, RIM molds, FIP molds, Spray Skin Molds, standard injection molds, thermoforming molds, and Glass Encapsulation Molds as needed. EPW also had two injection molding machines that also allowed process prove out for their injection molds as well. This set the company apart from many competitors at that time in that they could prove out each and every mold prior to shipment.
In 2010, EPW started building strategic alliances to offer complete turnkey systems to its customer base. With the ability to provide engineering support and design for entire turnkey packages this allowed the companies to compete on a more global scale. Many projects at EPW are tied to complete turnkey equipment purchases with metering units, automation equipment and tooling. In the beginning of 2012, EPW has added new software to enhance design and CAM functions throughout the plant and has commissioned three new CNC machines bringing our total CNC machines to 12. This has greatly aided overall throughput and machining dimensional accuracies.
Our team at EPW is looking forward to the future and is positioning itself toward continued growth. As we face the challenges and uncertain times ahead, EPW will depend on the things that have made the company a sustaining, formidable competitor and tooling provider in our industries served. We will continue to grow and develop our engineering department and state of the art CNC machining capability while providing unparalleled service to our mold and tooling customer partners.