Laser cutter key to company restart

Devizes, Wiltshire UK—An item appearing in a Web search got our attention.

Devizes, Wiltshire UK—An item appearing in a Web search got our attention. According to Newsquest (Wiltshire) Ltd and the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, farm machinery manufacturer, Kverneland, a Norwegian company, in a major restructuring, closed its UK plant in this community last summer. Two of the employees made redundant by this action offered to take over the company's spares business, but the company countered with the chance for them to buy international property rights to manufacture the product lines being dropped.

Kevin and Georgina Aiston, along with Mrs. Aiston's parents the Larbys, established a new company, KFM Fabrication, which not only supplies spares to existing customers but is now booking orders to build the line of grass toppers and bale choppers originally designed by a local engineer, Archie Kidd, in 1957. The Barber grass chopper was the first machine built by Kidd Farm Machinery, which was purchased by Taarup, a Danish firm, in 1991 and then by Kverneland in 1993.

As we said, what caught our eye was KFM's purchase of a Bystronic 2.8kW CO2 laser cutting system, which is part of a total equipment investment of £1 million, by a company now turning over £1 million annually was worth a deeper look. So we contacted Kevin Aiston and learned that this investment covered the equipment in place at Kvernerland, such as the laser and some other new machines. Aiston says orders for 50 bale choppers have been received and another order for 100 units is expected shortly. These orders emanate from Britain, Japan, Canada, Poland, Italy and the U.S. According to managing director Terry Larby, KFM expects to build and export 200 machines this year.

The laser cutter is used in the fabrication of the farm machinery and is also used in sub-contracting work. Commenting on the laser cutting capability Kevin Aiston says, "The seven-year-old laser cutter is critical to the company's manufacturing processes and helps to keep costs down. It also gives them the opportunity to supply good quality sub-contract work." He says KFM is a very experienced laser operator and that, in the near future, it will be looking to branch out into cutting varied materials. In this vein, the company has geared its other machinery to complement the maximum sheet size of the laser (4000 x 2000 mm).

You can learn more about KFM by accessing its Website, www.kfmfabricating.co.uk.

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