MWS Wire Industries is a worldwide distributor and manufacturer of magnet and specialty wire. “There are not too many companies like us in the world,” says Sales Manager of Industrial Products, Eric Yelich. “We’ve carved out a special niche in the wire marketplace to supply specialty wire that you can’t find anywhere, so customers really gravitate toward us.”
The company is known for having one of the largest, most varied magnet and specialty wire inventories available, and, if MWS does not have exactly what a customer needs, the team will find it or make it.
Established in 1968, the Oxnard, California-based business has been sourcing specially tailored wire solutions for over half a century. Industries served include medical, aerospace, automotive, computers, electronics, music, sensors, and telecommunications.
A new state-of-the-art production facility enables the team to meet customers’ unique needs, from product development through the qualification phases. The facility totals 75,000 square feet including offices, with 25,000 square feet dedicated to manufacturing space and 40,000 square feet to warehouse space. Most of the production equipment was made exclusively for the facility, and the facility was specially designed to accommodate tight deadlines. In fact, the team specializes in short production runs and quick turnarounds, so customers can get what they need when they need it.
MWS adopted its niche approach as a natural response to customer demand. “When we first began selling wire, we were just known as a magnet wire supplier,” Yelich says. “That’s all that we were doing; we were just a distributor. Now we’re a custom manufacturer and distributor because we tried never to say no to customers who were buying wire products.”
At the time, “You could call all these wire companies in the world, and everybody would have the standard commodity, off-the-shelf products,” he remembers. However, customers needed wire that was not a standard, off-the-shelf product, and they reached out to MWS with their requests.
“‘I called all the other suppliers and they can’t do it,’” Yelich remembers customers saying, “and we thought, well, let’s try not to say ‘no.’ Let’s try to say ‘yes.’ So we started building equipment and manufacturing. We started making products that you couldn’t buy anywhere in the world.”
As the demand for niche products continued to grow, the team intensified its focus on meeting specialty wire needs. “We just started to build upon that in our manufacturing department,” he explains. “We started adding equipment—drawing equipment, enameling equipment—just based on these special needs the customers had… We basically turned from just a normal distributor supplying products that everybody could get, into a very unique, custom, niche-oriented company.”
MWS customers often need smaller amounts of wire than standard manufacturers and suppliers can offer. “When someone can’t buy the minimum, they come to MWS, and we supply them with smaller lengths,” says Manufacturing Manager Mark Rodda. For instance, a customer may only need a thousand feet of wire for a research and development project, too small an order for most larger manufacturers to accommodate. MWS, on the other hand, specializes in these types of orders because the company can custom-make them in-house.
Supplying critical industries
Though given little attention, magnet and specialty wire are critical products that surround us wherever we go. “It’s one of those things that makes life a lot easier and is in everyday life products,” Rodda says. “You just don’t know about it because it’s behind the scenes.” For example, MWS’ unique wire products enhance the performance of a wide range of computer-related components and peripherals.
The company’s specialty wires are also incorporated into a variety of medical equipment including intracardiac mapping catheters, intravascular ultrasound imaging systems, intracardiac ablation catheters and systems, spinal cord stimulators, cardiac rhythm products, treatment devices for cerebral vascular disease, and endoscopic therapeutic devices.
The aerospace and defense industries use MWS’ fine and ultra-fine precision wire for deep space exploration, electronics, flight controls, avionics, GPS, navigation systems, sensors, probes, and weather systems. The electronics industry is another major customer, particularly since the demand for sophisticated wire has increased as lower voltage applications replace outdated high voltage combinations, and with the increased emphasis on miniaturization.
Guitar manufacturers also use MWS’ specialty wire, which is created with the understanding that the insulation type, thickness, and purity of the copper all influence the tone of the musical instrument.
MWS supports research and development in the automotive industry when unique wire solutions are required. The company’s state-of-the-art product facility is ideal for drawing, shaping, serving, twisting, and insulating custom automotive wire. MWS wire is also used in sensors, a technology that picks up input from the physical environment and then transmits this data in the form of electrical signals to gauges or other electronics.
And, even though wireless communication has become standard, the telecommunications industry still uses MWS wire, since new transmission processes and equipment continue to require traditional copper and specialty wire to extend transmission capacity and speed.
With so many industries relying on the company, MWS is a small business that makes a big impact. “We’re a small family-owned company,” Yelich says. “We’re about seventy employees. We’re not this big corporation, but we do a lot of special, unique products to serve the industry.”
This makes MWS a crucial player within its market. “During COVID, there was no way we could close our business because we’re supporting too many important industries out there; aerospace in particular with military and defense,” says Yelich. “We fill such a critical need within the wire industry. These products—that you can’t buy anywhere as you can imagine—are so special that, if we somehow were closed, it would have a bad ripple effect on a lot of businesses within the world. Those customers really rely upon the products that we offer.”
Quality is key
The pressure is high to supply reliable products due to the critical nature of the industries served. “Our challenge is: how do we ensure quality from the very beginning to the very end of the wire?” Rodda says. “So MWS is at the cutting edge of using AI technology and end-line inspection.”
The medical device market in particular requires this top-notch level of quality control due to the high stakes involved. Rodda uses the example of a washing machine, which uses wire to conduct electricity to run the motor.
“If that motor fails because of the wire, well, you’ve got maybe a bad load of laundry, right? If the wire fails in a catheter in a medical device, that’s a serious issue. The risk assessment there is much higher, and so we are under a different sort of environment in the medical wire field than, say, in the industrial.”
A pacemaker is another example of a medical product that requires the highest quality specialty wire. “The pacemaker is sending an impulse to the heart to stimulate it to pump,” Rodda says. “That impulse is generated by a coil of magnet wire. You really want that wire to be good.” The team understands the challenges of manufacturing for the medical industry, and how to meet those challenges. “You have to go into it knowing the risk and you have to mitigate that risk as much as possible.”
MWS has spent decades forging a niche approach that sets the company apart in the marketplace—and the team intends to continue meeting unique customer needs for many more decades to come.
“We’re trying to give them all the things that we have to offer, which are special, unique products, very quick answers, very quick deliveries, the best service, and the highest quality,” Yelich summarizes. “That really encompasses who MWS is.”