Laser manufacturing partnership is ready for production to soar

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A new deal is set to create one of the UK’s leading authorities on laser making.

Needham Group employs 70 at its Whitchurch base in Shropshire has selected PP Control & Automation (PP C&A) as its new manufacturing partner, responsible for the assembly of its N-Lase range of products.

The agreement will see up to 10 laser systems being built every month at a dedicated production cell at PP C&A’s facility in Cheslyn Hay. Monthly volumes may rise to 20 units as sales increase towards the £10m mark.

Aled Ellis, managing director of Needham Group, picked up the story: “Our ‘USP’ is not in building the machines, but in developing the innovative uses and applications for laser technology – that’s where we come into our own and where we anticipate the real growth to come from.

“Once PP Control & Automation proved it could build the prototype machine successfully, it made complete sense to look at a more strategic arrangement, first starting with the Desktop and Desktop Pro models and then, over time, moving on to the rest of our range.”

Ranges include the N-Lase Desktop, Desktop Pro, Benchtop, Handheld, Workstation and Integrated Solutions models.

A few weeks into low volume production and lead times have halved to just two weeks from the bill of materials arriving at PP C&A.

Four people have been directly employed on the dedicated assembly line plus a wider support team covering engineering, supply chain and customer services.

Tony Hague, PP Control & Automation’s CEO said: “It’s all about making sure we fine-tune the build and explore ways in which we can standardise processes to make assembly and customisation slightly easier than it is at the moment.

“The longer-term picture is that we will need to be in a position to build over 300 laser marking machines every year, something we can comfortably do at our site in the West Midlands.”