Lockdown installation sees state-of-the-art technology deliver more for less

A North Yorkshire engineering company is reaping the rewards of investing in a new laser cutter.

Ripon-based Econ Engineering, which makes more than 80% of the winter maintenance and repair vehicles used on Britain’s roads, has spent £850,000 on the technologically-advanced machinery to aid its production capabilities and reduce its energy costs.

The Bystar Fibre 6225 Dynamic – which has replaced its previous Bystar L 4025 – uses nitrogen in the cutting process as opposed to carbon dioxide.

This has increased cutting speeds by up to 600% on metal with a thickness of 3mm and below, and 400% on materials 4mm to 10mm.

And with the new machine using only 50kw/hr of electricity against 98kw/hr, this will save approximately 75 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Colin Trewhitt, Econ Engineering’s fabrication manager, said: “Now installed, the new laser cutter is already delivering benefits for our businesses.

“Econ supply and service the highways industry so we did not close down during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We adapted our working practices and continued throughout, whilst carefully observing strict health and safety policies ensuring the welfare of employees and customers.

“Since its installation, the new machine is cutting aluminium, stainless steel and mild steel faster than its predecessor whilst using a fraction of power, which was a key consideration for us in purchasing it in the first place.

“With winter just four months away, this is traditionally our busiest period, manufacturing gritters, snowploughs and spares, for the growing Econ fleets across the country.

“And thanks to the investment in the laser cutter, we are now achieving this more efficiently, and with reduced energy costs.”

Last October, the company launched a new engineering hub in Scotland to service its clients in the northerly part of Great Britain. It will officially launch a second hub in Wales this autumn.

The family-run firm, which was started in 1969, is the country’s largest producer of gritters and road mending vehicles, and has a hire fleet of more than 800 vehicles.