New �500,000 laser for Ashwellthorpe engineering firm

A family engineering firm is hoping it will be a cut above the rest after investing �500,000 in new laser cutting machinery.

DC Developments is hoping to secure contracts that they have previously missed out on because they did not have the ability to cut larger and thicker material.

The Ashwellthorpe company, which employs around 35 people, does engineering projects for a number of industries and counts Lotus Cars and Thetford-based recovery vehicle manufacturers Boniface among its customers.

Earlier this year the 30-year-old firm bought a marine company which produces underwater propulsion equipment which is run by the firm's sister company DC Marine Ltd. The business turns over around �2.5m to �3m each year.

Manager Matthew Campbell said: 'Our clients come from a mixture of different industries. We do not rely on one single customer. We do not want to be like that. You are putting yourself in a dangerous position.'

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He said the company had always invested heavily in quality equipment and the new laser is the company's fourth.

'The machine has come from Japan and has taken three months to build and a month to ship. It is the first of its type in the county only the second in the whole of the UK and is able to cut a 4m by 2m sheet of material which is up to 25mm thick.

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'We do a whole range of work to be able to accommodate most people's requirements,' Mr Campbell added. 'We are a one-stop shop. People can come to us an we can do the whole job for them. It is very rare to have a company that can do all of those things.

'We knew we were losing orders because we couldn't cut one part. It might have been one part, but we were losing �7,000 worth of business we could do and that's why we thought it was worth taking the jump. Everything is a gamble, but I hope we will recoup the investment within five years.'

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