Having invested £300,000 (just under $388,000) to add a 4000-sq-ft. extension to its factory, the family-owned welding and fabrication company WRES (Poole, England) has introduced a new, fully automated 6 kW ByStar Fiber laser from Bystronic (Niederönz, Switzerland). At 15 m in length, the laser cutting machine can process sheets of metal with an automated loading system.
"This increases our competitive edge and offers new efficiencies in terms of waste reduction," says WRES director Alan Hamer, who acquired the company in 1992. "We also now enjoy lower energy costs. The new equipment can also operate through the night without supervision, which gives us a greater boost to productivity and a reduction in lead times."
Working from CAD instructions from clients in several industries (including aerospace, marine, and electronics), the new laser has required five of the 50 employees at WRES to undergo a two-week training course.
(L-R) Family team Lewis, Alan, and Westley Hamer with the new fiber laser.
Director Westley Hamer believes that with a foreseeable shortage of skilled workers in the welding and fabrication industry, they will have little option but to consider the investment in more automated and robotic production methods in the next decade. This will eventually demand the introduction of automated machinery and robotics, alongside skilled and semi-skilled employees to enable the £4.5 million (over $5.8 million) turnover company to satisfy the exacting standards required by customers that include Sunseeker International, Siemens, and the RNLI.