Manufacturer makes £500,000 laser breakthrough
One of the world’s leading ‘in-machine’ measurement specialists is celebrating two big birthdays in 2018, with its UK operation 18 years-old and its German parent reaching half a century.
Blum-Novotest, which employs eight people at its offices in East Staffordshire, is marking the double anniversary in style after securing three new orders for its recently launched LC50, the next generation of laser measurement and the latest addition to its hugely successful DIGILOG family.
Customers involved in automotive, F1 and aerospace have already invested in the new technology, which uses premium laser optics, a new design shutter protection system and HPC nozzle to provide ‘ultra-reliable’ in-machine measurement data.
Bosses at the firm expect this new product to generate over £500,000 of additional orders over the next two years, with the main interest coming from manufacturers supplying high value parts.
“We started out as a one-man engineering office when founder Günther Blum combined his studies in aerospace engineering with design work for machine tool manufacturers, eventually leading to him starting his own company in Schmalegg, near Ravensburg in South West Germany,” explained David Mold, who founded the UK subsidiary in 2000.
“The company has come a long way in 50 years and is now seen as a global market leader, employing close on 550 people across 16 different world-wide operations. In order to mark the celebrations, we took a number of customers over to Blum Tech-Talk, a major event that gave them the opportunity to see how our probes and systems are built and the scale of our manufacturing facilities.”
He went on to add: “Interest in our measuring capabilities is growing in the UK and we expect to double turnover this year, with more companies choosing to measure the accuracy of the spindle and the part whilst positioned in the machine.
“LC50 was a big boost for us and we were delighted to see construction work has started on a new assembly building in Germany, giving us double the capacity. This is great news for local customers keen to get their hands on our products quickly.”
Blum-Novotest is one of the global leaders in production metrology, offering laser control, tool setting probes, workpiece probes, roughness gauges, bore gauges and DIGILOG touch probes.
Its UK operation originally started life in a small office in Lichfield, but as the firm’s reputation grew in aerospace and automotive, sales started to increase rapidly and a move to bespoke offices and a state-of-the-art demonstration room in Burton-upon-Trent followed in 2015.
Today, the company delivers its solutions to some of the world’s largest aerospace primes, car manufacturers and a host of CNC machine tool suppliers, including the Engineering Technology Group, Whitehouse Machine Tools and Yeovil Machine Tools.
Alexander Blum, son of the founder and managing director of the company since 2001, concluded: “Trends like Industry 4.0 and IoT play into our hands, with the process increasingly moving into the spotlight and a perfect fit with our products.
“As my father realised very early on, measuring inside the machine has become an indispensable part of this process. The trend towards adaptive manufacturing also follows a similar path – a machined part is not milled blindly, instead measurements take place according to a reasonable measuring strategy and machining is adapted to achieve the desired end result.
“All over the world, Blum-Novotest render the same high-quality service combined with application support, thereby allowing our customers to benefit from the profitable deployment of our products. At the end of the day, our customers produce more good parts with an overall higher quality finish – and that is what really counts.”