Constantly challenging the conventional, Laser Wire Solutions willingly takes on its customers’ problems, employing its ingenuity to create exceptional cable and wire stripping machines
The story of Laser Wire Solutions is one that can inspire any fledging entrepreneur. Through hard work, perseverance, and thinking outside the box, the designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art laser products for the precise removal of insulation from specialist high-value wires and cables, has succeeded in becoming a leader in its field only six years after its inception. “Innovation is our buzzword,” states the company’s founder and Managing Director, Paul Taylor. “The commercial acumen, which enables us to recognise gaps in the market, together with our deep understanding of laser physics, as well as our willingness to work flexibly and in close collaboration with our customers to creatively solve their specific problems, have been the biggest drivers of our success. We consider ourselves to be responsive and proactive in our approach to dealing with customers and we also have a reputation for not shying away from challenging projects. Our vision is to help clients create products that take their resp ctive industry a step further into the future.”
Today, Laser Wire Solutions supplies its cable and wire stripping machines to the medical, data communications, automotive, and aerospace sectors, having built a strong customer base. To get to this prominent position, however, Paul had to overcome multiple challenges when he started the business, being a small player with limited financial resources. Bags of experience in applied laser technology, gained while working on diverse projects such as DVD manufacture and the building of optical atomic clocks for over 20 years, as well as commitment to delivering solutions to complex problems allowed him to find a space in a sphere where large blue-chip medical device companies were struggling to find suppliers who could develop their required solution.
Paul continues: “Supported by a SMARTCymru grant, we developed and sold the company’s first high-tech laser wire cutting machine to a French company in 2012. The first of its kind, this machine strips microscopic wires used in a range of technologically advanced products, such as pacemaker coils, medical devices, and mobile phones. This initial success gave the business credibility and helped us raise £275,000 of investment from Finance Wales and the Xenos Business Angel network, which provided the much-needed cash injection to enable bigger orders to be fulfilled.
“Having secured the additional funding, we were able to develop our Odyssey technology, which has secured us the lucrative account of Biosense Webster – the medical device manufacturing arm of Johnson & Johnson, an American multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company,” he adds. A range of enamel wire strippers, the Odyssey products are capable of the highest quality removal of thin polyimide like coatings from medical catheter wiring and precision coils. “The Odyssey-4, in particular, launched in 2017, is a clear example of innovation meeting customer needs. It helped us generate over £1 million in business last year with demand having stayed strong throughout 2018, too. Another example of innovation is the Mercury-6 that is used for stripping multi-layer automotive battery cables. Its creation was instrumental in us winning first one, and then several more orders from Tesla,” Paul points out.
Doubling the sales volume of its Mercury machines could largely be put down to Laser Wire Solutions receiving the support of Schleuniger AG – a multinational manufacturer of precision mechanical wire processing equipment. “By being a niche player, we were spotted by Schleuniger who took a 20 per cent share in our business. In turn, we have leveraged their international network of agents and distributors. We are currently training and supporting them to sell our entire laser range to their large international customer base and in doing so, we anticipate to broaden our geographical reach,” Paul discusses.
Earlier this year, Laser Wire Solutions won another major grant, this time from Innovate UK, for the development of robotic cutting-edge laser soldering at a sub 0.1mm pitch capability. Paul comments: “Nowadays, small medical devices are hand-soldered, using a microscope and a very steady hand. The next generation of devices, like ultra-sound cables, calls for a connection pitch of only 0.1mm, but this is beyond the skill of all but the most experienced operators and, hence, is a major bottleneck for production.”
As a result of its rapid development, between 2014 and 2017, the company’s turnover rose dramatically from just £250,000 to over £5 million, with Paul aiming the business to hit the £15 million mark by 2021. In addition, the staff headcount also increased in the said period – from four to 26 employees, who filled the newly-opened highly skilled design and engineering positions at Laser Wire Solutions.
Further evidence of the company’s success can be found in the recognition it has received from a number of renowned institutions that have placed it on their lists of best-performing businesses. Laser Wire Solutions was named the fifth fastest growing manufacturing company in Europe on this year’s FT1000 Fastest Growing Companies list, also finding a place in the prestigious Deloitte 2018 UK Technology Fast 50 ranking and on the ST Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table. More impressive still was the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (for International Trade) it was presented with in July, highlighting its 176 per cent compound annual growth in revenue over the last three years.
Holding a 100 per cent export record, Laser Wire Solutions places continuing to build close connections with its overseas customers on top of its priorities for the future. Paul explains: “We need to keep delivering value-added solutions and offering critical technical support when our clients need it. As technology evolves and wires and cables become more complex in composition and configuration, lasers often prove to be the only viable stripping solution, which, in turn, creates a sustained need for our capabilities and services. Looking ahead, the challenge for us is to remain innovative, flexible, and responsive to market needs, whilst managing our direct and indirect costs.”
Laser Wire Solutions
Products: Laser wire strippers