News

New Sales Engineer

10/10/2013

This week saw the introduction of a new Technical Sales Engineer for the east of England.

Derek Payne comes to us with a wealth of laser cutting and sheetmetal experience and will be a valuable addition to our sales team.

We have a considerable number of customers in the east of England but we have never been able to service them as well as we would like. Derek will be doing that as well as expanding our presence in the area. Those of you in the area will, no doubt, get to know him over the coming months.


Bring it on home....

16/08/2013

For some years now we have been hearing about how the Far East is becoming the manufacturing powerhouse for the world, and how the UK would become nothing more than a service based economy.

During that time there have been many people, including me, who have expressed doubts that it could continue to be so indefinitely. There have always been certain issues with having production so far away, issues that would include transport (time and cost) control of operations, quality and intellectual property rights. Larger corporations who have the wherewithall and financial strength to operate their own manufacturing bases so far away are protected from these concerns because they have supervision on the ground but the majority of companies buying from the Far East do not have that luxury.

Fuel costs have led to ever increasing transport costs and shipping is becoming very expensive when compared to original budgets. A shortage of ships, of late, has also led to longer and longer delivery times which also adds to the cost, not least because larger stocks are required to allow for delays.

Wage rates in the region are increasing and, although they started from a very low base, they are impacting on production costs - and, anyway, where items are produced using the latest, high tec equipment, labour costs are often a small percentage of production costs.

The protection of intellectual property rights is going to be a problem for a long long time and may never be resolved adequately.

The biggest problem, though, is quality. It is difficult to be absolutely sure of quality standards unless you are actually there at the sharp end. If you have to wait up to two months from the time of shipping to the time of local inspection you will probably be looking at damaging delays in supply.

In a recent survey of manufacturers, in the Midlands, 16% of respondants said that they had either repatriated some of their manufacturing or were considering doing so. The overriding reason given for this action was quality. Not shipping costs, not IP rights but quality. They were all convinced that the Midlands was better able to supply quality goods than they were in  the Far East.

Those of us involved in manufacturing, in the Midlands, have always known this.

If there were to be one main reason for manufacturers not bringing work back (or not shipping it out in the first place) it would be the high cost of labour in the UK. We do not want to be a low cost economy and so we have to increase productivity. to do this we need to invest more in equipment and processes and, more importantly, in skills.

An alarming report this week found that a single digit percentage of young people were thinking about careers in production. We have to stop messing about with 'mickey mouse' education systems, show the kids where they can find an exciting future and provide the training to turn them into the engineers of tomorrow. We have had experience in trying to recruit from a so called Technology College, and what a waste of time that was.

We have had some excellent people passing through apprenticeship programs with this company but it is also true that a lot of the applicants are totally unsuited because their levels of educational attainment are nowhere near where they need to be, because, to a large degree, they have been neglected. We have got to create an environment where young people think of manufacturing first, before they think of careers in digitals arts or performing arts or any of the other 'flavour of the month' subjects.

To this end JCB have to be congratulated on their engineering academy in Rocester, we could do with more.


Link-up approval gained

13/08/2013

We are pleased to announce that we have completed our registration with Link-up.

Link-up is the official procurement portal for the rail industry and our registration will mean that potential customers can have confidence in Laser Process without, first, having to go through the usual vendor appraisal process.

With billions of pounds in funding announced for the rail industry over the next few years it puts us in a great place to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise


The Bridge to Everywhere

08/07/2013

The infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Glasgow has today, 8th July, finally become the Bridge to Everywhere.  Left straddling the M8 since the 1970s, the bridge has now been completed as part of a UK wide programme to make it easier for millions of people to walk and cycle every day.     

The bridge was left quite literally hanging in midair since the 1970s after the shopping centre that it was supposed to link to failed to materialise.  Its completion now forms a vital link in Glasgow’s network of walking and cycling routes, linking Central Station to the Forth & Clyde Canal through Kelvingrove Park, to the River Clyde and to Pacific Quay via Bell’s Bridge.  Importantly, it also provides a safe route for the community of Anderston to access the city centre.  

John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland said:

“Sustrans Scotland is delighted that this bridge across the M8 has now been completed, thereby giving people travelling on foot and by bike a safe route across one of the busiest roads in the country.  For a long time the Anderston area has been quite cut off from the city centre but thanks to the opening of the Bridge to Everywhere this is no longer the case. 

Laser Process has been involved in this project by way of it's supply of three statues as part of the Portrait Bench that has been installed. The Portrait Bench includes life size statues of three famous Glasgow people James Watt, inventor, Tom Weir, author and broadcaster and Jimmy Reed, activist and politician.

 

 


Major Artworks Project Completed

25/06/2013

 

Right in time for his band’s headline show at UK’s legendary Glastonbury festival, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger has been honoured by his hometown of Dartford where a steel sculpture of the singer has been revealed. (Photo by Stephen Oliver - (http://www.stephen-oliver.co.uk /blog/a-rolling-stone-in-the-park/

Part of one of the biggest ever public arts projects in the UK, the statue was manufactured by Midlands based laser-cutting specialists Laser Process Ltd. The company produced over 250 life size steel statues of local celebrities and symbols for the project which was brought to life by sustainable transport charity Sustrans in order to decorate its latest cycle ways and pathways throughout the UK and Ireland.

Made from weathered steel, Laser Process Ltd was originally given the order for 3 sculptures. However, upon their completion in 2010, the Cannock firm was awarded the contract for the whole project, encompassing a total of 256 statues across 85 sites in the UK and Ireland.

Labelled “The Portrait Bench”, the art collection is part of Sustrans’ Connect2 project to encourage more people to get about on foot and bike for everyday journeys.  One bench on each route is now featuring three local heroes who have been chosen by the communities themselves, among them actors Richard Burton and Michael Caine, comedians Eric Morecombe and Rob Brydon, musicians Mick Jagger, Tom Jones and Gary Barlow, Olympian Paula Radcliffe as well as historical and political figures such as Henry VIII and local heroes and symbols.

According to David Lindsey, Director at Laser Process Ltd, “This contract has been an interesting departure for the company as our products are usually industry based, consisting of engineering components for a wide variety of customers. However, this project has given us the chance to show that engineering has got a creative side to it and can result in quirky and fun output.”

The company which is one of the UK’s largest subcontractors for laser cutting has grown a reputation for its precise work, quality and customer service. With a strong commitment to continual investment in latest technology, environmental standards and quality control, Laser Process Ltd has also won the regional Made in the Midlands Award for engineering excellence three years in a row since 2010.

 


From the archive #2

24/04/2013

The Laser Process Credit Control Team

Back in the early 90s Laser Process accepted an invitation to take part in a business challenge day at Whittington Barracks, near Lichfield.

The challenge consisted of a series of tasks during the course of one day and involved a team of four from each company, from memory about eighty teams took part.

The tasks included an assault course, abseiling down a tower, rifle shooting, stretcher carrying and several other physical activities.

The Laser Process team, consisting of Dave Lindsey, Neil Lindsey, Simon Murphy and Tony Jeffries, managed to finish second. The result was pleasing - and very surprising because none of us had made any preparation for the effort involved.

The photo shows the team at the beginning of the rifle shooting competition. The team became known as the Laser Process credit control team.


From the Archives #1

11/04/2013

Laser Process Ltd opened its doors at the beginning of 1990. The original staff had all migrated from Laser 2000 Ltd, Brownhills.

This is the original flyer sent out to prospective customers. The pictures show Dave Lindsey the MD of Laser Process and the original sales rep, the late Bill Wharton. Bill was one of the first sales reps in the UK selling a laser cutting service. He was quite concerned in the early days because it was difficult to get prospective customers to accept that laser cutting was a service for the sheetmetal industry rather than some hi-tech service not compatible with their requirements. He gradually made them see the light (pun intended) and became a well respected and well liked face of the company.

Dave Lindsey first became involved with laser cutting in 1981, and Bill shortly after. At that time the number of laser jobshops in the UK could be counted on one hand. Now it seems that there is one on every corner!

Simon Murphy, Laser Process production manager, also got involved in laser cutting in the 80's and, together with the fact that very few employees of Laser Process have moved on, that gives us more combined experience than almost any other laser cutting company in the country.


New Pressbrake Arrives

27/03/2013

We have just taken delivery of a new pressbrake. This, 130 tonne three metre, machine will sit alongside our existing, 170 tonne unit and enable us to cope with the ever increasing workload. The new machine is another Trumpf which, we consider, to be as good as they get.

Bending has been an important part of our operation for over ten years and the volume of work has increased to the point where we were unable to cope with the one machine we had.

This acquisition follows that of the Dugard vertical machining centre purchased last year and of the creation of our assembly facility to further enhance our capability for secondary operations.


Mick Jagger and other Dartford Warblers

26/02/2013

What have Eric Morecombe, Stephen Fry, Mick Jagger and Scott of the Antarctic got in common? I could also add Dame Vera Lynn, Ronnie Corbett, Johnny Vegas and Lord Horatio Nelson.

They are all figures recently produced as part of the Sustrans Portrait Bench (Connect2) scheme. They have all been unveiled recently, or will be unveiled in the next week or two in various parts of the UK.

Stephen Fry, together with Nelson and the heroic nurse Edith Cavell will be sited in Norwich while Dame Vera Lynn will be placed with, the James Bond author, Ian Fleming and Jamie Clarke, in Dover.

Mick Jagger will be placed, with a Vox AC30 amplifier and a couple of Dartford Warblers (iconic local birds) in Dartford, Kent.

Our contract with Sustrans, which involves the production of over two hundred and fifty life size figures, has been running for two years but has to be completed in the next couple of months and so, with nearly fifty figures left to manufacture, the schedule is getting very busy.

Examples of many of the figures can be seen on our Pinterest pages, and more will be added as photos become available.


New Corporate Video

19/02/2013

RNTV has produced a new corporate video for Laser Process. It can be viewed on YouTube at http://youtu.be/R6qqFQKy6DA  .This video was introduced at the recent Southern Manufacturing Exhibition in Farnborough.