Harderwijk, The Netherlands - In spite of problems with the business climate in the Dutch manufacturing industry, AWL-Techniek, a speciality laser machine builder, experienced a growth in turnover of more than 15% in 2012. The company's employment reached 250 and the number of employees at its sister organization, MechDes Engineering, doubled. As a result, a new building, opened in April, is fully occupied.
In 2011, AWL-Techniek experienced growth in number of orders and turnover, as well as growth in its work force and facilities. Laser welding continues to be one of AWL's most important technology pillars, representing 70% of turnover, with more than 25 laser sources integrated in machines. Expectations are that the combination of laser welding with a more conventional laser technology, so-called hybrid laser welding, is set to greatly expand over the next few years.
Apart from Europe, AWL has also started to focus on China and America. China, in particular, proves to be an interesting development. And AWL has now found a suitable site in Wuxi, 200 km from Shanghai, and the first order for China is now in hand.
One major change in 2013 will take place in the field of R&D, where the company has set up a department that will concentrate exclusively on new developments and innovation. The reuse of existing cells is a trend set getting more attention. Cells are fully cleaned and, when necessary, given new molds and new laser programs so that the cells can be used for longer.
AWL continues to focus on short turnaround times. To ensure that machines are delivered quickly without compromising reliability and quality, the company is increasingly using standardized building blocks. This Configure-to-Order (CTO) process still gives clients a tailor-made machine, with controls, technology and cell being made up of existing components.