£1.6M investment in state-of-the-art Bystronic laser cutting and press brake machinery is the latest development in the meteoric growth of Midtherm Laser Ltd from its roots as a small subcontractor to becoming one of the largest sub-contract laser cutting operations in the UK.
The Dudley, West Midlands based firm was started by managing director Richard Andrews in December 2000, operating with a single Bystronic laser cutting machine from the corner of a factory that he rented off his father.
Today, 11 years on, a £1.9m investment project is due to be soon completed, a project that includes an environmentally friendly designed building housing a fifth new laser cutting machine, a new press brake and extensive racking for storing sheet materials. All this following on from a three quarter million pound investment in a fourth laser cutter and nitrogen generator in 2010. David Wheatley, Midtherm Laser’s sales manager comments; “2012 is going be a very exciting year for the company. The whole team has worked hard to ensure that we exceed the expectations of our customers and it’s good to see our customer base growing year on year.
“We have listened to feedback from the market place and adapted the way we work to suit its specific needs. This includes investment in machines and infrastructure as well as a new estimation software package called IP Laser, which has already significantly reduced the amount of time it takes for us to submit a quotation".
. Integral to the latest expansion has been the acquisition of the latest Bystronic cutting and bending machines. Among the three was one of the first Bystronic 3kW Fiber Lasers to be sold in the UK and this will operate in tandem with a new 6kW Co2 laser. The combination of the high power 6kW machine for cutting thick and thin metals, plus the ultra-high speed cutting ability of thin material with the Fiber will give Midtherm distinct advantages with these investments. The Fiber machine also offers improvements when cutting brass and copper which, combined with the extremely low cost of operation, was another deciding factor in their purchase.
A further 4M by 2M Bystar Laser was also ordered and - being extremely flexible in operation - also allows larger components and nests to be processed more efficiently. Investment though has not been confined to hardware and premises.
In preparation for the new capacity, the company has already taken a proactive move to employ and train new personnel so that they can hit the ground running when the project is finished. As operations director Dean Cockayne explains, "over the past 2 years we have been investing in new equipment to ensure that we stay at the forefront of our industry. However, we do not want to stand still; this is why we are making another significant leap forward in our recruitment policy.
“Currently we are in the process of recruiting personnel for the new roles that the expansion has created. We are already running 24 hours a day with a Saturday and a Sunday morning shift. In June when the project is completed, we need to continue running around the clock and need to make sure that we have enough trained staff in place to have an efficient transition" .
The company now plans to spend the next 6 months working hard on a new marketing strategy to help raise its corporate profile in time for the arrival of the machines. To maximise exposure Midtherm Laser exhibited for the first time at MACH 2012 and will be at Subcon 2012.