This week Laser Wire Solutions was announced as winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, category Innovation. This follows on from winning the Queen’s Award for the category International Trade in 2018. The 2019 Innovation award is in recognition of the technological breakthrough the company has achieved in developing a new laser machine in 2017 named ‘Odyssey-4’ targeted at manufacturers of medical devices.
This device is able to strip the enamel coating from microscopic wires used in catheters to open clogged arteries, disperse blood clots, regulate heart arrhythmias, as well as other wires found in cochlear implants, hearing aid devices and ultrasound cables. This technology signifies the potential for improved diagnosis and treatment of people with often critical and life-threatening diseases and illnesses, whilst aiming to fulfill the needs of the medical industry through its small size and high precision.
Without this technology the process is purely reliant on a technician’s skill as manufacturers have to scrape away the insulation of the wires with a razor blade whilst looking at the wires through a microscope. Poorly stripped wires and failure to create accurate transmission signals in the electrical connection of wires could result in failure during use, risking the patient’s health and damaging the manufacturer’s reputation, or at best failure during test resulting in high value scrap (some catheters are worth over £10,000).
The advantages of having a system that could automate the process of stripping wires as well as guarantee and verify the quality of strip result, have meant that many medical device manufacturers are now queuing to get hold of such innovative technology. Cost and size of the machine have also been a key factor in winning new business, as the bench-top machine can easily be retrofitted into manufacturing lines and it can be clearly demonstrated that there is a quick pay-back on investment.
Esther Apoussidis, Laser Wire Solutions’ marketing/PR representative, said: “The first customer to come along in 2017 was the medical device manufacturing arm of one of the biggest names associated with pharmaceutical and consumer goods in the world. They trialled the machine and then were so impressed with the results that they promptly ordered 12 machines that same year.
“Laser Wire Solutions has now been recognised by the FT1000 as one of the top 50 fastest growing companies in Europe and one of the FT Future 100 UK List, which is an exclusive group of companies recognised for both exceptional and sustained growth and for their wider achievements within their industry or impact in society.”
Laser Wire Solutions’ aspirational drive for innovation and growth has been supported in no small measure by Business Wales, who saw the company’s potential and awarded them a place on the Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). Ms Apoussidis recognises this: “The AGP has performed an important role for Laser Wire Solutions in terms of supporting its continued global expansion. It has given the company access to funding, consultancy services on a range of subjects from strategy, IP and exporting to sales and marketing.”
Carmen Gahan, of AGP, said: “The Queen’s Award is a recognition of the outstanding and pioneering work by Laser Wire Solutions.
“Working with AGP, the company has been able to develop its exports and expansion overseas.
“Helping firms such as Laser Wire Solutions is putting Welsh business at the forefront of international markets.
“Laser Wire Solutions has an exciting future ahead of it and we hope to continue help encourage it to grow.”