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Support from Lombard

An efficient new laser-cutting machine is the first step on a growing engineering business’s road to reducing costs and becoming more energy self-sufficient.

All 4 One Engineering Ltd, based in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, supplies custom-fabricated metal components primarily to the construction industry. But an aging laser cutting machine had helped push its energy spend to £5,000 a month.

Now, supported by Lombard – NatWest Group’s asset finance specialist – the company has purchased a £700,000 Bystronic laser-cutting tool, which is not only expected to reduce energy costs by 40%, but also double the company’s turnover.

“The main reason I bought the machine was to eliminate a bottleneck we had in the laser-cutting process and increase our manufacturing efficiency,” says CEO Kim Williams.

“Also, up to 80% of our energy consumed was on the old laser, so with our new unit we’re expecting roughly a 40% reduction in energy costs. We’ll be a lot more efficient and could potentially double our turnover because we now have this machine.”

Kim hopes to make further savings by investing in an air compressor to run the new unit, replacing the nitrogen and oxygen tanks he previously had to rent to power the old machine.

“The compressor will quickly pay for itself with what we are going to save on energy costs and gas costs,” he says. “We’re expecting to reduce our energy bill by £2,000 a month. It’s very significant.”

While Lombard provided the asset financing to help All 4 One purchase the new machine, NatWest supported Kim with additional funding to extend his factory space from 22,000 to 35,000 square feet.

Jeremy O’Grady, NatWest Relationship Director, says: “I’m delighted that we were able to support All 4 One Engineering Ltd with their expansion, where our flexible approach and terms provided additional support through the initial Build phase.

“The additional footprint has created capacity for the company to further invest in new machinery, increasing both capability and operational efficiency.” 

We’re expecting to reduce our energy bill by £2,000 a month. It’s very significant.

Increasing efficiency

With the extension now built, All 4 One’s original premises can be used solely for manufacturing and the new space can be used for storage and assembly, eliminating the loss of valuable manufacturing time.

“Our previous floorspace was quite cramped,” says Kim. “We had to move pallets out in the morning and back in in the evening just to be able to operate. It resulted in us losing about an hour of production time every day, so we needed to expand to operate more efficiently.”

Kim’s next ambition is to invest in solar panels for his premises to make the company more energy self-sufficient.

“We have plenty of roof space, and whatever energy we don’t use would go back to the grid, which creates another revenue stream for us. It could completely offset the purchase of the solar panels.

“I think the last few years have scared businesses about how much and how quickly energy prices can change. It’s had a major impact, so being energy self-sufficient and not relying on other energy sources is a priority for many firms.”

 

Looking to the future

Founded in 2004, the family-run company pivoted its business to provide services to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic but has since secured a steady flow of orders from construction and retail clients.

Along with 30 staff, Kim’s two sons also work at All 4 One – his eldest, Calvin, is the sales director and younger son, Ross, is the technical sales lead for the company.

“They have a wealth of experience from working on the manufacturing floor for four years before coming into the office,” says Kim. “I’m confident that they can run the business with me overseeing them now, and they’ll be able to run it by themselves in the future.”

Lombard Relationship Manager Ian Scaysbrook says: “It’s great to see All 4 One Engineering utilising our resources, not only for the financing of their new laser-cutting machine, but also to help reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint, which could help improve their bottom line in the long term.”

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