The vehicle converter Qi has invested half a million pounds in a laser cutting machine and improvements to its powder coating plant.
In Partnership with the University of Wolverhamptons' Green Shoots Plus+ initiative, Qi has been awarded a grant to assist in purchasing the new laser.
Green Shoots Plus+ aims to help small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to create new jobs and promote growth.
The machine creates a laser beam wave length that is one tenth of the width of a CO2 laser, which allows for much faster processing of thinner materials using compressed air rather than nitrogen gases.
The investment enables Qi to produce a wider range of steel and nonferrous metal products faster, whilst reducing its carbon footprint.
One of the key benefits is the company can efficiently cut high tensile steel which can replace standard steel and reduce the racking weight by 25%. This, says Qi, can help customers increase payloads as part of vehicle conversions.
Qi expects the new laser to increase capacity within its manufacturing facilities, and in turn provide kit for the fitting shop at a quicker rate.
Part of a review of the manufacturing facilities will see changes in the way it operates its powder coating plant.
It is installing new recycling water tanks that offer significant water savings. It estimates a clean water saving in the region of 60% due to the recycling of spent water going through cleaning tanks and then being re-used. The introduction of new recycling water tanks means that there will be a reduction of water consumption from 15 cubic metres of water per day down to six.
The entire pre-treatment tank and heat exchangers will be replaced, which will allow the plant to be run at a significantly lower temperature (40% lower) reducing the total running costs of the plant and reducing the carbon footprint.
The current heat exchanger runs at a temperature of around 300 degrees. The new heat exchanger, coupled with the new tanks will run at around 200 degrees but will produce the same results.