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Manufacturing Technology


Taking It to the Extreme


Business is all up hill for Black Diamond Xtreme (Cannon Falls, MN). Tat is because the shop manufactures aſtermarket high-performance components that transform average snowmobiles into aggressive, supercharged and lightweight extreme mountain machines. For its custom-built Black Diamond Xtreme Pro-Lite “sled,” the shop strips down


a standard Arctic Cat snowmobile and then changes out and/or modifies the seat, gas tank, hood, rear skid, front suspension, motor, air intake system and chain case. Te result is a 212-hp (158-kW), 940 cc extreme machine that weighs only 420 lb (189 kg), which is 67 lb (30 kg) lighter than the original factory weight. Te sleds are balanced and built for shear climbing power, and more than 90% of the finished product’s parts are from Black Diamond Xtreme. Te company started in 2000 as the result of a patented drive system developed


by founder Ray Schoenfelder. In the beginning it contracted out almost all of the machining work for its aſtermarket parts and accessories sold worldwide for snow- mobiles and other ATVs, as well as those used on the Black Diamond-version sled. Ten in 2005, the company estab-


lished its now eight-person machining division shop with the intent of bringing previously farmed-out machining work in-house. Te goal was to further boost component quality with more process control while at the same time managing costs and shortening lead times. However, the shop’s original machine


tools fell short when it came to part finish quality and fast machining cycle times. So in 2007, it purchased the first of its seven current multitasking machines— and most recently a Vertical Center Universal (VCU) machining center— from Mazak (Florence, KY). According to Schoenfelder, the shop


now produces the same parts in-house as cost-effectively as having them farmed out, even to overseas suppliers. In fact, he said that they have reshored over 95% of the company’s parts to its US operations. Te shop has total control over its part processing. But most importantly, Black Diamond Xtreme is now much more agile and responsive to market needs and associated changes in production. Schoenfelder’s son Jeff, vice president of Black Diamond Xtreme, added that the shop benefits greatly from the multitasking, five-axis and done-in-one capabilities of


68 Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing


Reshoring most part production—and using the right machines— has put a maker of high-performance snowmobiles on top of the world.


What start out as standard Arctic Cat snowmobiles are transformed by Black Diamond Extreme into even more potent custom sleds.


Photos courtesy Mazak Corp.


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