Laser Bend Weld

This high-tech manufacturer grew its profitability when it moved to regional NSW.

Precision manufacturer

A laser cutter (file photo) Laser Bend Weld is one of the high-tech businesses that make up the NSW manufacturing sector. It uses state-of-the-art machinery to laser cut, robot weld, bend, fold, and powder coat metal plates.

Its products are used in factory fit-outs, office work stations, and in-vehicle electronics such as the Opal card readers on Sydney's buses. Laser Bend Weld also laser-cuts thick structural steel used in buildings and mines.

Going regional

The 80 year-old company outgrew its Sydney factory and moved to bigger premises in Bathurst in 2012.

Managing Director Steve Alexander said the relocation allowed the company to tap into a new regional market. A new focus on higher-value sales also increased profitability significantly.

"A lot of our products were bulky and needed to be made close to the market in Sydney's hospitality industry, laundries, hospitals and nursing homes," Mr Alexander said.

"We divested part of our business to a competitor, who also took on half of our staff who wished to remain in Sydney. We relocated all our high-tech machinery and other staff to Bathurst."

Just over 12 months after the move, the company grew back to the same level of sales. They retained the customers in Sydney while developing a valuable market they had identified in Central West NSW.

"With Sydney only a few hours away, we are finding it just as easy to continue to provide good service to our previous customers," Mr Alexander said.

"When you put high-value products on a pallet, the distribution costs become insignificant."

The company has tapped into the local mining, construction, and manufacturing industries, as well as Bathurst's food manufacturing hub. Three national food manufacturing businesses are located in Bathurst: Mars, Devro, and Simplot.

Assisted by the NSW Government

The department's office in western NSW connected the company with key local business networks and decision-makers, and together with Bathurst Regional Council, helped the company make a smooth transition when relocating to regional NSW.

The NSW Government provided funding through the Regional Industries Investment Fund to help relocate the company's advanced manufacturing plant and equipment.

"Since we took over the company in 1981, we've never had as much interest and support from all levels of government as we've enjoyed since making the decision to relocate to Bathurst," Mr Alexander said.

Download the Laser Bend Weld case study

Publication date: December 2014