CO2: End Of An Era

A banner for Yorkshire Profiles Ltd with a laser cutting background

As we prepare for the next expansion phase of the business, it’s time to say goodbye to our old CO2 laser and the memories it created. April 2010 marked our entry into the laser cutting industry having being an exclusive waterjet business since 2001.

Towards the end of 2009, I was a waterjet operator for my fathers business, and I wasn’t happy about it. The business hadn’t moved forwards in several years and had no plans to do so. I used to analyse the order books in my free time and I could sense a decline was on the way. Lasers were becoming faster, cutting thicker and more affordable. Constantly cutting into our market share for each month that went by.

2009: My workstation in 2009. Cold, wet and pretty dark when the light went out (repeatedly). But we we’re only a small business of 4.

I felt if things didn’t change, I would have no future here. The business was sustainable for the immediate future, but not for both myself and my father. We weren’t particularly close as father and son in 2009, and so, with a shouting workshop rant. I quit.

It didn’t help the situation that I was living at home with him, and it was coming up on Christmas. But, in my heart, I knew I had to do it.

Things cooled off and we had some conversations about how to create a better future for the business. During the Christmas shutdown we reached an agreement to expand the business, we would move into the laser cutting industry with the best that there was.

2010: Martin prepares the workshop for a new laser

I was excited and got to work building new systems and procedures for the company to finally expand. Being in my mid-twenties, I didn’t really put much thought into how terrifying it must have been for my father to take that much risk. I just wanted to get stuck in to building up a larger enterprise.

2010: The new laser arrives.

The new laser arrived in late March 2010 and was up and running by early April. It was a big shift into the type of work we could process and there was a lot to learn in a short space of time.

2010: Mike and Martin await the engineers to start comissioning.

At the time the CO2 F1 was the Amada flagship machine of what laser cutting equipment could achieve. The machine didn’t just build up the business into a sheet metal processing beast, but it built a much closer bond between father and son.

2010: The F1s first run.

So here we are, exactly 10 years later. It is obvious that CO2 laser cutting is on the decline with the rise of newer faster machines and I have very carefully checked the numbers and selected its replacement. It’s eerie knowing that I must be feeling the same anxieties as my father once did.

2020: After a hard 10 years graft, the F1 has been decommissioned.

But again, in my heart, I know I have to do it.

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd

Yorkshire Profiles Ltd