LASER WIRE SOLUTIONS (PONTYPRIDD)

Origins

Laser Wire Solutions was founded to exploit the gap in the market for off-the-shelf, high-end laser stripping systems for medical device manufacture. Basic wire stripping devices existed in the market for larger cables used in the aerospace or consumer electronics markets, but there were no offerings available for precision medical applications. For medical devices, manufacturers were limited to mechanically stripping the wire which leads to quality issues. Where lasers were implemented in the process, the machines were bespoke, highly complex and expensive. Laser Wire Solutions focused on developing cost effective, compact laser machines to enable state-of-the-art manufacturing with an off-the-shelf solution.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The biggest challenge was to start out as a very small player with a few key contacts in the industry. What Paul Taylor, as founder of the company, did have, however, was a deep experience of applied laser technology through over 20 years working on diverse projects such as DVD manufacture and building optical atomic clocks. This knowledge was coupled with the willingness to work fast and deliver solutions to complex problems. This market responsiveness allowed a foot in the door with large blue-chip medical device companies who were struggling to find suppliers who would or could develop the required solution. The second challenge was financial. The business was founded with limited cash from re-mortgaging Paul’s house and matching funds from a Welsh Government Smart Cymru grant. This meant there was no money to hire more people – so initially he had to do everything himself – from finance to physics to emptying the bins. In terms of the technology, the biggest challenge in meeting the needs of the medical device market was to create a machine that was compact, accurate and affordable, yet sufficiently rugged to withstand harsh manufacturing environments.

Success Factor

There are three main factors underpinning the success of Laser Wire Solutions namely (a) innovation – the ability to create advanced technological solutions founded on an in-depth understanding of laser physics and industrial processes; (b) partnership – the ability to listen to and work collaboratively with key customers and suppliers to design and adapt solutions to meet specific applications; and (c) responsiveness – the ability to respond quickly to customers with the desired information and systems at the right price.

The Future

The plan is to grow the company from £1.5 million (2016) to well over £10 million turnover in the next five years. This will be achieved specifically by extending its technology offering by closely collaborating with customers to identify and meet their specific needs. This will encompass extending the line of precision laser wire strippers as well as adding new capabilities such as laser soldering and laser micro-welding. The firm will build on its initial success in the provision of contract stripping services, particularly in the medical device market and broaden its geographical customer spread to include more European and Asian customers. Laser Wire Products will also expand its market presence with the launch of two new, innovative products in 2017 as well as diversifying and building competence in laser soldering and laser micro-welding to enable to deliver a turnkey package to join the stripped wires to electronic devices.