EDM Fluid Unit Hits Sales Block


Canadian lubricant blender Commonwealth Oil Co. announced this month its plan to sell its electrical discharge machining fluid business, the biggest producer of those fluids in North America. The company said it will now focus on other opportunities in the metalworking fluids and industrial lubricant market.

A privately owned manufacturer based in Harrow, Ontario, Commonwealth declined to disclose financial data about Commonwealth Electrical Discharge Machining Fluid Co. (CEDMFC), a subsidiary formed recently as a vehicle for the spin-off. Officials claimed it supplies approximately 60 percent of the continents demand for EDM fluid.

The hydrocarbon-based fluids serve as an insulating material in electrical discharge machining, a process which uses extremely rapid electrical pulses – thousands per second – to make precision cuts in metals. Commonwealths customers include manufacturers of plastic injection molds, artificial human body parts and jet engine components. Officials said the subsidiary has product approvals from nearly all companies and government agencies using EDM fluids and that it sells its products through a network of 42 distributors in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Oil began making EDM fluid in the early 1980s, according to President Fred Herdman, and decided this was a good time to sell the business. The company has contracted Arthur Withrow of Withrow Co. in San Marino, Calif., to assist with the sale. EDM fluids account for approximately 35 percent of Commonwealths business. With the subsidiarys sale, the parent company will try to expand its activities toll-blending metalworking fluids and industrial lubricants, Herdman said.

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