A specialist sub-contract laser cutting and forming specialist is reaping the operational and environmental benefits of a £1.2m machine investment.
Midtherm Laser Ltd, which employs 45 people at its factory on Peartree Lane in Dudley, has increased its capacity and speed of processing thanks to the installation of a new Bystronic Bystar Fiber 12kW laser with part automation.
One of the largest purchases in its 23-year history introduces the next level of power in fiber laser cutting and will help the company deliver high cutting dynamics and thin-to-thick cutting capabilities to a customer base that spans aerospace, automotive and decorative work to food processing, agricultural and conveyors.
It has also made a massive difference to the firm’s environmental performance, with the Bystronic model replacing two older CO2 machines and is already delivering a 50% energy saving – the equivalent of powering 2100 average homes every month.
“Our expertise in laser cutting and metal forming is respected throughout our sector and has led to us increasing sales by a further 6% last year, a great achievement considering the volatility of the market,” explained Mark Hannon, Director of Midtherm Laser.
“The knowledge of our experienced people is one of our greatest strengths, and we like to complement this with a sustained investment programme that incorporates the latest technology into our production processes.”
He went on to add: “The 12kW Bystar Fiber is a class-leading machine that can cut from 0.5mm to 30mm in mild steel, aluminium, and a host of other materials. It gives us more capacity to target new opportunities and, importantly, means three-quarters of our machines are now fiber technology instead of gas.
“With this in mind, and when you consider we have also invested in LED lighting, sensor switches and electric vehicles and charging for our staff on the road, it’s not difficult to see how we have managed to cut our energy usage in half since 2018.”
Midtherm was originally established in 1968 by Ray Andrews and operated through sister companies offering powder coating, enamelling and UV flues.
There was a laser cutting machine that was occasionally being used at one of the factories and the decision was taken in 2000 to put it to better use by creating a ‘laser’ business that initially employed just three people.
With orders starting to take off, Ray’s son Richard Andrews moved the business to its current 20,000 sq ft factory on Peartree Lane in Dudley in 2004, with the next big milestone taking place in 2018 when Mark Hannon replaced Dean Cockayne as Director and took over the operation alongside Richard and Kate Birt.
Today, Midtherm Laser works with more than 500 companies across 20 different sectors, cutting or forming various sheet metals from 0.5mm to 30mm to a +/- 0.25mm tolerance.
It is also the only sub-contract laser provider that can offer the cutting of non-ferrous materials without the risk of cross-contamination for industries, including food processing and chemical manufacture.
Richard Andrews, Director at Midtherm Laser, concluded: “There has been a lot of investment recently, with the new laser following the installation of automated warehousing and the rebrand to form the Midtherm Group.
“Embracing new technology is a must for our business, but the company still thrives on the same values my father started it on in 1968, which are quality, service and technical knowledge.”