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Linecross celebrates 50 years at the forefront of the UK plastics industry

The Rutland-based Linecross Group is celebrating half a century at the forefront of the UK plastics industry.  

Dave Badley, the company’s longest serving employee (left) is presented with a hamper from Linecross managing director Stuart Fry (centre) and chairman David Austin (right).

 

The company, which was launched in 1967 by local men Alan Carr, who sadly passed away last month and David Mounteney, started life in a derelict barn at the bottom of David’s garden, with a vacuum-forming machine crafted using just hacksaws, a grinder, a welder and a variety of junk found at scrapyards and auctions.

Since then, the company has expanded from a microbusiness with just two employees to become one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of vacuum formed thermoplastic, polyurethane and injection moulded components, with a purpose-designed 120,000 ft2 manufacturing facility in South Luffenham.

Linecross has evolved over the past 50 years and today provides clients in the automotive, leisure and speciality industries with a full start-to-finish design and manufacturing service - from product design, development and project management to ‘just in time’ supply direct to trackside. It also provides technical solutions more associated with high volume applications, using low volume processes.

The company has established long-term partnerships with many iconic British manufacturers – from luxury car makers Bentley and Aston Martin, to JCB and London Taxis, caravan manufacturers Swift Group and Coachman - all leaders in their respective fields.

In 2012 Linecross Ltd bought its Cannock-based competitor BI Composites out of administration to form Linecross Composites. The additional manufacturing capacity gave the company the capability to provide an even greater range of technologies, including injection moulding and soft foam PU to diversify into a number of new markets.

Today, the Linecross Group employs nearly 300 people across its two facilities in Rutland and Cannock. Group turnover topped £27m in the last financial year and is expected to exceed £30m next year.

The company is continuing to invest in both its infrastructure and new technology in order to stay ahead of a hugely competitive market.

Significant improvements have been made to the infrastructure of both Rutland and Cannock sites to provide additional capacity, increase automation and further improve efficiencies.

The company has also made an investment of more than £3m in new plant and equipment, including new injection moulding machines, the largest of which has a clamp force of 2,300 tonnes, and new vacuum forming machines with twin sheet forming capabilities. This will allow the firm to produce lower weight products and open up a number of new markets.

As the business has expanded, so has its reputation across the industry for its ability to innovate.  

Linecross is currently working alongside the world-famous Antler Suitcases on the production of an exciting new product. The company has developed a method to process a material more traditionally used for protective helmets and armour for military vehicles, into a super-light, super-tough new suitcase.

To mark its 50th anniversary, every member of staff was presented with a luxury hamper, containing a selection of local produce.

According to Chairman David Austin, innovation remains the fundamental theme running through the business:

“The business was created 50 years ago by David Mounteney and Alan Carr, embracing the opportunities provided by new plastic materials and innovating with them. The culture of innovation has remained as the backbone of Linecross’ approach throughout its 50-year history.

“This combined with, more recently, a focus on broadening our process offering and significant investment has resulted in significant growth.

“We are working hard to build on the successes of the past, but are trying to do things differently, in order to give our customers the solutions they need for the future and to be competitive in an ever increasingly global market.

“Our 50 years’ experience of working amongst the forefront of new plastic and composite materials and technology, together with our sustained investment in the business and its people, mean we look forward to the future with pride, passion and immense optimism.”

The company’s longest serving employee is Dave Badley, who joined the company in 1976. Over the years he was worked in most department and has seen a lot of changes:

“When I started working at Linecross, a lot of the functions were carried out manually - it was only in the mid-1980s that the business became automated.

“Although the appearance of the site may have changed over the years, the one thing that has stayed the same is the stability and job satisfaction. The company has always been about its people, which is why so many of us have stayed working here for so long.”


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