Mekoprint invests in fiber laser cutting technology

Aalborg, Denmark -- Mekoprint Mechanics, a producer of customized cabinets and sheet metal forming of steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, has invested DKK 30 million (US $5.2 million) in automation and new technology in its Fåborgvej division, to accentuate its growth strategy and its goal of keeping industrial production and jobs in Denmark. Chief among these is what is thought to be the first fiber laser sheet metal cutter to be installed in Northern Europe.

The company's customers are medium-sized and large industrial conglomerates in Europe, with demands for fast product development, high and consistent quality, flexible deliveries, and competitive prices. The new production lines will bring more processes under Mekoprint's own roof and enable it to produce very small product series just as efficiently as the large ones.

A high degree of automation and the latest technologies are essential for Danish companies to keep, and expand industrial production. Even with production in Poland and cooperation partners in Asia, they still wish to maintain jobs in Aalborg. During times when other companies have cut down, Mekoprint Mechanics has hired more people, now with nearly 100 employees -- but company CEO Esben Kold says he does not expect increased automation to cost jobs in the long run, but will instead increase competitiveness and order intake, creating growth in related processes and the need for even more employees.

The investment program includes a fully automatic production line producing punched, fiber laser cut and bent items. Fed directly from inventory and after one non-stop automated workflow, the finished products emerge on the other end of the line. An advanced fiber laser cutting system from Salvagnini will feed a fiber laser robot production welding cell and a shipping area for fast delivery of finished goods.

The fiber laser technology is extremely fast and consumes 70% less energy than a traditional CO2 laser. Mekoprint's metal division had a turnover of DKK 95 million (more than $16 million) in 2010/2011; it is one of five divisions of the Mekoprint Group, which was established in Aalborg in 1954 as a graphic company and metal sign factory.

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