Ladder manufacturer WernerCo has invested more than $1.8m in its Maldon UK facility, including the installation of a state-of-the-art laser cutter.
The BLM Adige Fibre Optic Laser Cutter is used for cutting treads for WernerCo's fibreglass stepladders, stiles for box section extension ladders and BoSS access tower components, and is at the heart of Werner's investment. Said WernerCo's manufacturing engineering manager John Darby: "The state of the art machine from Italy was an investment of over $1.2m and forms part of the overall production site improvements in WernerCo's Maldon UK plant.
"The investment in this second laser cutting machine prevents any need for outsourcing and provides an increase in capacity to support growth. The new machinery enables cutting for the D-Rung ladder stiles and GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) treads and horizontals. More critically this investment improves and streamlines production processes, following the production lines moving from our Belper site."
To support overall improvements in operational efficiency at the Maldon plant, over 25,000sq ft of storage buildings have been added for component storage, including a 10,000sq ft dedicated extrusion store.
In November 2015, WernerCo opened a new National Distribution Centre in Burton Upon Trent, which saw the move of finished ladders from Maldon and Belper. This new centrally located facility provides distribution and collection facilities to WernerCo's UK customer base.
As a result, over 36,000 sq.ft of production floor in Maldon has now been relayed to optimise production efficiency and to absorb the volume from the Belper closure on course for later this year.
WernerCo has invested over $100k in increased nitrogen generation, which is used in the aluminium laser cutting production, making the company self-sufficient in nitrogen generation. In addition the company has also improved external storage, general facilities and parking.
Nick Platt of EMEA VP Operations, said: "WernerCo has production facilities all over the world, and it's been great to see the investment in manufacturing in our UK business.
"We are looking forward to seeing the results of the investments and improvements at Maldon in terms of quality, speed and efficiency at the plant. We're also investing in global operations, like Vietnam, where we have just installed a new $5m aluminium extrusion machine, predominantly to supply ladders for the UK market."