2017 was one of the most significant years in the history of the Rutland headquartered Linecross Group, with its 50th anniversary celebrations and a whole host of high profile contracts.
As the company embarks on its 51st year of trading, it looks to build on its reputation for innovation and challenge traditional methods of manufacturing vacuum-formed thermoplastic, polyurethane and injection moulded components.
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.
Linecross 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.
As the business has expanded, so has its reputation for its commitment to technical innovation. As a result, it counts many household names amongst its diverse client base – from luxury car makers Bentley and Aston Martin, to JCB, London Taxis and caravan manufacturers Swift Group and Coachman – all leaders in their respective fields.
Over the past 12 months the company has invested more than £3.1m at its two sites in Rutland and Cannock.
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 2300 and 900 tonnes, providing the ability to mould large automotive interior parts.
Efficiency and productivity improvements have also been aided with new robotic handling systems and an ultrasonic welding robot to support assembly operations.
Over the years, Linecross has established a reputation across the industry for its commitment to innovation. Its ability to combine traditional processes and technologies, such as injection moulding and soft foam PU, with its own innovative ideas and with new materials is enabling it to diversify into a number of new markets.
According to chairman David Austin, 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.”
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 exhibits 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.
“We have a bright, dedicated team in place who are committed to remaining at the forefront of new plastic and composite materials and technology.”
The company employs more than 300 staff across its two facilities in Rutland and Cannock. Group turnover topped the £27m in the last financial year and is expected to exceed £30m during the current financial year.