JD Laser Inc., a Hartford-based firm that specializes in laser cutting of steel, recently purchased an electric tube bender for about $450,000, adding tube bending capabilities.
The tube bender was paid for with a $2 million SBA loan through Associated Bank. The balance of the loan consolidated some of JD Laser’s other equipment loans.
One of the company’s lasers is specially designed for steel tubes and is able to handle tubes up to 27 feet long, said Dan O’Bryon, president of the company. The firm also has five flat lasers that can cut steel up to three-quarters of an inch thick and two six-axis lasers that can cut steel in three dimensions.
"We use those mostly with our customers in the (metal) stamping industry," he said. "We also do some prototyping with them."
JD Laser serves the construction, lawn and garden, snow removal, military, off-road vehicle and commercial entrance markets.
The company recently hired an outside sales representative to help it attract customers from Madison, northern Illinois and the Sheboygan/Manitowoc/Green Bay markets.
In late March, JD Laser laid off 12 of its employees. The company currently has about 30 workers, including three that were brought back from layoff.
"There is a little spark out there," O’Bryon said. “"But (recovery) is going to be a gradual thing. My main customers are so slow – they hit the wall hard. It will take a lot to get us back to where we were."
JD Laser is bidding on more work, and feels like its prospects are better today than six months ago.
“The focus is a little better, but not real clear,” O’Bryon said. “We’re getting contracts farther out, our customers are talking about how things are looking like in July.”
However, it is also seeing multiple bids on the same jobs.
“A lot of companies are shopping jobs around, doing price comparisons,” said Tim Godin, vice president.
For more information, visit www.jdlaserinc.com.