WEC Group Invests in state-of-the-art Laser Cutting Machine for MTL Advanced.

The brand new 6m x 2.5m Trumpf CO2 TruLaser 8000 has been commissioned in December as part of an ongoing investment plan to modernise MTL’s machinery line-up and boost productivity.

With high speed cutting and reduced energy consumption of up to 40 percent compared to the machine it replaced, the “new generation” large bed laser provides superior contour precision and higher part quality than most other laser cutting machines on the market.

The new investment will enable MTL to retain a competitive advantage on large volume production contracts as well as wear resistant, high strength and stainless steel components.

Karl Stewart, Commercial Director at MTL said: “Our investment in this ground breaking laser cutting machine will enable us to remain at the forefront of our industry, as there are very few companies in the UK with this level of technology in-house.”

“Investment in large format cutting machines has been at the core of MTL’s past successes, and the new TruLaser 8000 complements our already impressive line-up of large profiling machines nicely. This includes a 20m x 3.5m laser, a 12m x 3m waterjet machine and a 25m x 5m plasma cutting machine to name but a few.”

The laser cutting machine will also be fully equipped with an “Intelligent FMS” (Flexible Manufacturing System). Specifically designed for sheet loading, unloading and part sorting, the system will add an extra layer of automation to MTL’s operations.

Metal sheets of up to 20mm thickness and 6000 mm length will be automatically loaded on to the system, as well as moved and stacked cut parts of any shape - kitting them for further use which is perfect for Kanban systems.

The automated material handling system is ideal for MTL’s large contracts and batch orders as it is capable of running 24-hour unmanned operations without the need for an operator.

WEC Group Commercial Director, Wayne Wild said: “Lean Manufacturing techniques and Automation are essential to our growth and continuous improvement strategy. We have made several other similar investments in a 640 ton, fully automated robotic press brake as well as 13 robotic welders. The addition of the new sorting technology to our profiling cell is a step forward in the automation of our manufacturing process.”

“We can now profile, press, and weld components of up to 6m in length with minimal involvement from operators, which means we can guarantee the highest level of quality and repeatability to meet the expectations of our large OEMs customer base.”

Since bringing MTL out of administration in February 2015, WEC Group has embarked on an ambitious investment plan to secure the long term success of the South Yorkshire Company.

As one of the largest engineering and fabrication companies in the UK, WEC is in the process of investing a further £7m to acquire the 300,000 sq. ft. facility and 6 acres of land in Rotherham which MTL has occupied since 2011, giving the Company much needed room for future expansion.

Several other areas of the business have also received substantial investment from WEC Group as part of its ongoing expansion plan. This includes over £2.5m of investment in capital equipment such as the latest CNC machining and waterjet cutting technology at the Group’s Blackburn sites, as well as further investment in the new Darwen-based Powder Coating division which was launched in 2014.

Meanwhile, WEC Group also opened a brand new sales office in Stafford, West Midlands in December to increase the reach of its laser cutting operation.

WEC Group’s total investment for the past 12 months has reached the unprecedented level of over £4,000,000 - which is a real testament to the business’ strong growth ambitions.