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27th March 2018, Cannock

Linecross challenges traditional manufacturing methods

Linecross, a Cannock, UK, based company, which serves customers like Bentley, Aston Martin and JCB, is building on its reputation for innovation and challenging traditional methods of manufacturing vacuum-formed thermoplastic, polyurethane and injection moulded components.

Linecross Composites, which was formed in 2012 when parent company Linecross Ltd bought its competitor BI Composites out of administration, provides clients in the automotive, leisure and speciality industries with a full design and manufacturing service – from initial design to just in time supply direct to trackside from its site on Green Lane in Bridgtown.

Over the past 12 months, the company has invested more than £3.1 million at its two sites in Cannock and Rutland. © Linecross

Over the past 12 months, the company has invested more than £3.1 million at its two sites in Cannock and Rutland. A significant investment has been made in three vacuum forming machines, including twin sheet forming capabilities, with further equipment including two new injection moulding machines with clamp forces of 2,300 and 900 tonnes, providing the ability to mould large automotive interior parts.

The company combines traditional processes and technologies, such as injection moulding and soft foam PU, with its own innovative ideas and with new materials, which has over the years enabled the manufacturer to diversify into a number of new markets, according to Chairman David Austin. Efficiency and productivity improvements have also been aided with new robotic handling systems and an ultrasonic welding robot to support assembly operations.

Mr Austin believes that innovation is the watchword for the business going forward. “Conventional thermo-forming has moved on greatly. These days the industry is about more than just stand-alone parts. We are now supplying assembled modules and using a variety of different processes at the same time,” he said.

One of Linecross’ most high-profile collaborations to date is with the world-famous Antler Suitcases. The company has developed a method to process new material, Armordon – a self-reinforcing polypropylene fabric, which is said to exhibit exceptionally high impact strength, combined with low density – into a super light, super tough new suitcase called Atom.

“We have been at the forefront of advancements in the industry for 50 years and have established a culture of collaborative partnerships with our customers and other industry specialists, which has enabled us to support many iconic, global brands,” Mr Austin continued. “We have a bright, dedicated team in place who are committed to remaining at the forefront of new plastic and composite materials and technology.”

Founded in 1967, the Linecross Group, which comprises Linecross Ltd and Linecross Composites, has grown from a microbusiness with just two employees, to one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of engineered plastics and polyurethane components. The company employs more than 300 staff across its two facilities in Rutland and Cannock. Group turnover topped £27 million in the last financial year and is expected to exceed £30 million in 2018.

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