A former fitter and toolmaker by trade, Keith Morton spent many years in the automation industry, – including working at Supaloc for 11 years and Hills Industries prior to that – before founding Innomation in 2010.

Based in Adelaide’s Salisbury Plain, Innomation offers a variety of services including mechanical design and drafting, electrical schematic design and drafting, machine design and automation. One of the issues that faced the company was the amount of money being spent on outsourcing bending and laser cutting.

The solution for Morton was to establish Lasermech, a subsidiary of Innomation located on the same premises, offering design, cut, fold and fabrication of all types and sizes of components. Not only would Lasermech handle Innomation’s requirements but importantly it would offer these services to a raft of companies in Adelaide.

To get things rolling, Morton visited Applied Machinery’s Melbourne facility in October 2019 to look at pressbrakes and fibre lasers. While impressed with the quality and value for money of the Yawei machines, Morton wanted to see the Yawei factory in China for himself. His first impression of the factory was positive to say the least.

“I was blown away by it,” says Morton. “It was a highly impressive set-up, incredibly clean and high-tech. Once I saw it I felt complete peace of mind knowing the new machines were coming from there.”

Morton proceeded to purchase a Yawei CKY-1530 2kW fibre laser as well as a Yawei PBH 110-3100 CNC5 pressbrake. The pressbrake was delivered in February 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic put any futher progress on hold, so the fibre laser could not be delivered until June. When it did arrive, Applied technicians had it set up in just a few days – testament to the efficient and fast service offered by Applied.

“The service provided by Applied has been terrific, especially in regard to the machine’s installation,” says Morton. “They’ve been fully involved from the beginning to the end and have demonstrated the utmost professionalism; it’s been a delight to work with them. I couldn’t be happier with Applied’s service – I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my next machine.”

Morton’s vision for Lasermech is to “become known as the pre-eminent mechanical engineering services business in Adelaide, that provides its clients with on-time deliverables and great customer service”. In just a short time Lasermech’s client base has grown considerably and offers a diverse range of products that include truck-body panels, drilling equipment, parts for the recycling industry, and even decorative garden screens.

Customer satisfaction is crucial to the success of both Innomation and Lasermech.

“We treat others how we like to be treated,” Morton explains. “We commit to our service promises and if there’s an issue we let clients know and work through it with them. It helps to be honest with customers because they’ll respect you more because of that.”

Last year was a difficult time for most Australian businesses, and Innomation is no exception. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Innomation dwarfed the newly-established Lasermech. However, according to Morton, Lasermech was the catalyst for his business to pull through the last year as a result of a major increase in demand for local laser-cutting.

“It’s safe to say that we were saved by Lasermech, and the business now represents about 30% of our total output, which will only increase over the next 12 months with the growth we anticipate,” says Morton. “We couldn’t be happier with our Yawei machines; they’ve really proven their value. It’s highly likely we will look at purchasing another one in the near future. It’s been a difficult year for all of us, but we’re slowly coming out of it now and the new machines have been assisting us with our recovery.”

Despite an unprecedented difficult year, Morton is optimistic about the future: “We will continue to grow as our businesses grows; ultimately, the future looks bright for us in 2021.”