Laser focus helps manufacturer secure six-figure backing

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An entrepreneur, who secured a contract to deliver ground-breaking research into laser technology and its use in the energy industry, has secured a six-figure cash injection from alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise.

Doncaster engineer Peter Brown launched Rossington-based Laser Additive Solutions in 2014 to help businesses embrace new manufacturing techniques.

Since then, the company has specialised in delivering projects on behalf of the aerospace, energy and transport sectors.

Last autumn, the company was appointed as lead member of a research and development consortium to investigate how innovative laser technology could be harnessed within the nuclear industry, helping to minimise risk and present cost savings during the construction of nuclear power stations.

Recognising the project would require significant investment in raw materials, as well as needing to build a special facility to house the equipment used during the research, the business turned to Finance For Enterprise for help.

Using the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, investment manager Ian Howson helped Laser Additive Solutions secure £105,000 of loan funding, helping to cover a substantial portion of the funds needed.

Since securing the loan, Laser Additive Solutions has built a laser process cell, which will be used as part of its R&D programme. It has also welcomed two new staff members to its workforce.

Brown, managing director, said: “Our business is built around helping businesses to embrace 3D metal additive manufacturing, which allows components to be built  using lasers to shape metals by building in layers.

“It’s a similar process to plastic 3D printing, but a much more precise process, something that’s vital to the aerospace and energy industries.

“Lasers are typically used in industry to remove materials, rather than to build.

“As the sector we’re working in is a relatively new one, historically, this presented its own challenges when it came to raising the vital funds we needed.

“I struggled to secure finance from traditional high street lenders, but Finance For Enterprise listened to my plans and were able to help.

“When the business needed additional financial support – a combined impact of Covid-19 as well as the need to purchase the vital raw materials – I approached them again, and they helped us to secure the funds our business needed.

“My investment manager was very proactive throughout the application process.

“As a result of the investment we’ve received, we’ve been able to install a new facility in our workshop to support the demands of our research project as well as recruit additional members of staff.”

Paula Foreman, operations manager, Finance For Enterprise said: “Despite the clear success Laser Additive Solutions has enjoyed in recent years, Peter was acutely aware the additional demand for raw materials and new equipment would place pressure on his cashflow, potentially stunting his future growth plans, so he reached out for advice.

“We discussed a number of different lending options and presented a detailed business plan outlining the significant potential offered by his future growth plans.

“Since helping him to secure the funds, Peter has been able to put his plans into practice, helping to create new skilled jobs in an emerging sector, as well as helping him to continue to innovate and diversify his business.”

Laser Additive Solutions now employs five full-time members of staff and counts Siemens, Rolls Royce and Strathclyde University among its clients

The SonicSMR project is a 12-month collaborative R&D project funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and aims to address the challenges posed by using metal additive manufacturing in the nuclear industry.

Consortium partners include the University of Sheffield Nuclear AMRC, Brunel Innovation Centre, IVY-TECH and Taraz Metrology.

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