1. How and When Did You Enter the Laser Engraving and Laser Cutting Machine Business?
We started as a very early adopter of laser engraving and cutting technology in the mid 1990’s, well before the technology was commonly recognised as an alternative to conventional engraving and cutting machines.
We purchased our first system to use for general engraving and trophy work. Back then, the only format that was viable for a small business to purchase and operate was a 25w plotter based CO2 laser.
Our first laser was supplied by a US company, who ultimately delivered a sub-standard, malfunctioning, poorly performing machine with absolutely terrible training and zero after sales support. Out of necessity, we had no option but to fix the faults of the machine ourselves and learn the technology through a purely trial and error process. We then encountered other UK businesses in the same position and began to fix their systems too. A natural progression was for us to become the UK sales/support resource for the original US company, which we did in 1995 by forming the company Laserite Ltd.
2. Why Did You Form the Brand Lotus Laser Systems?
After a few short years working with the US company, it was clear that our trading ethos differed considerably. In 1999, we left the Americans to join forces with a brand new company from Austria called Trotec Laser, who shared many of our common principles and trading ethics. Over the following years, we worked extremely well with Trotec to establish their brand in the UK. During this time, our skill set evolved and we began to contribute ideas towards the design progression of the Trotec product, culminating in the launch of the Evolution machine; this was a rebadged version of a Trotec Speedy model that was primarily sold to UK based architectural model makers.
Over the following years, it became clear that some of our customers required an alternative system to what the constraints of the Trotec product would allow. In particular, they wanted larger format, lower cost CO2 cutting lasers as well as galvo based laser marking machines, which at that time were not available from Trotec. We originally floated the concept to Trotec but they did not consider the project viable for them. In 2004, we launched the brand Lotus Laser Systems under which we would design and manufacture our own systems to better fulfil the changing needs of some of our customers and to service the new market opportunities that a Trotec-made product could not.
3. Why is Your Trading Brand Lotus Laser Systems Different to Your Company Name Laserite?
Laserite had established a reputation and clear association with Trotec that stretched way beyond the UK. Lotus Laser Systems was a near instant success but the offering was very different from a Trotec-made machine. At that time, as a business called Laserite Ltd we offered both brands of system. To avoid confusion, we withdrew from our marketing activity using the company name Laserite and promoted only the brands of Trotec and Lotus Laser systems.
By 2006 the Lotus Laser Systems portion of our business had dwarfed that of our Trotec business. In 2008, we mutually agreed with Trotec to withdraw from their business and concentrated all efforts on Lotus Laser Systems.
4. Why is the Name Lotus Laser Systems?
The very early Lotus machines were no more than reworked Chinese imports. The factories that we used at the time were located in Wuhan, which is a huge city divided by the Yangtze River and surrounded by several great lakes.
Many of these lakes are contaminated with rubbish, but during the summer some areas are covered with beautiful Lotus flowers. The Lotus plant is steeped in Eastern culture and symbolizes many things including resilience and an enduring strive for perfection. The Lotus plant will commonly suffer from a poor environment yet each year will fight against the negative aspects of its environment to produce flowers that are often more beautiful with each passing year of its life. Lotus plants can survive for many years and once prolific can contribute to improving the poor environments they were once living within.
At the time of launching the Lotus Laser Systems brand, most of our contemporaries thought that we were crazy and advised against it. Some actively tried to discourage us and a few actually tried to sabotage us.
It’s fair to say that in the early stages, we shared some suffering in common with that of the Lotus plant. Ultimately, we managed to overcome many obstacles to achieve something of enduring significance, hence the brand Lotus Laser Systems
5. Are Lotus Lasers Made in China?
Originally, yes they were. The original concept of Lotus Laser Systems was to provide reliable, high quality yet affordable laser engraving, laser cutting and laser marking technology to a wider market than the existing suppliers could service.
A factory was set-up in Wuhan within the Wuhan University High Tech Development Zone, where we invested several hundreds of thousands of pounds to create a manufacturing resource with state of the art facilities staffed by employees some of whom had graduated from Wuhan HUST; a World Leading Science & Technology University. With all manufacturing being in Wuhan we would drive down the costs to lower our sales prices. Design, configuration, testing and after sales support would be UK based.
Unfortunately, Plan A did not work!
Even after setting up a factory to UK standards and implementing quarterly visits by UK management, it became clear that the work ethic and cultural differences between UK and Chinese workers were very different. Ultimately, the factory could not achieve the high standards that the Lotus Laser Systems brand demanded. After just two years we closed the Wuhan factory and reshored all assembly to the UK
Since 2014, all Lotus Laser Systems have been designed, assembled, configured and tested wholly in the UK and are made from components sourced from around the world.
6. What Makes Lotus Laser Systems Different From Other Suppliers?
We know of no other UK based company of our type that has the resources, expertise, diversity of product portfolio or after sales support that Lotus Laser Systems has to offer. We spend approximately 15% of our annual revenues on R&D, all of which we do in-house. Every Lotus Laser System has 100% of its wiring and control electronics installed and tested by our UK engineers. After 25 years of exclusively working with laser cutting and laser marking technology, we have built a team of staff with outstanding levels of expertise.
As well as standard systems, we can design and manufacture bespoke solutions with customised software and automated handling devices.
Today, many of our competitors claim to offer a similar level of resource and expertise. Simply visiting our facility and comparing it with that of others will confirm our claim that as a business we are unique in our sector.
7. Where Can I Buy a Lotus Laser System?
Lotus Laser Systems are supplied and supported by local agents in Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Sales/support partners for other territories will be added periodically. In the UK we supply and support our entire range directly.
8. Why Should I Buy From Lotus Laser Systems?
At the lower end of the price and performance bracket, in particular, when compared to rebadged directly imported machines, a Lotus Laser System will deliver higher levels of safety, efficiency and output quality as well as prolonged component life. This is why we are the only company to offer a 2 year warranty for the DC laser source that we supply.
At the upper end of the price and performance bracket, a Lotus Laser System will often deliver superior productivity, reliability and reduced maintenance costs, even for the most demanding 24/7 industrial applications.
When the time comes, you can rely on a Lotus Laser Systems support engineer to diagnose and fix any faults fast and cost effectively. As a genuine systems manufacturer our stockholding and product knowledge is more than sufficient to provide a first class back-up service, which is why almost all of our reviews are rated as 5*.