On behalf of the entire team at Star Rapid I’d like to wish the happiest of the new year to our valued friends and partners. Thank you all for being part of our continuing story. As you know Star Rapid went through a lot of changes in 2017. Let’s look at what we’ve accomplished in the past twelve months and what we can expect in 2018 and beyond.
In terms of capital improvements we invested heavily in new manufacturing, inspection and test equipment. Manufacturing equipment included 11 new CNC machine centers, two EDM and wire EDM machines, and five plastic injection molding machines. These acquistions have increased our overall production capacity tremendously.
To ensure that we’re making great parts that exceed our customer’s expectations we’ve also invested in quality control inspection and test equipment. Among these new pieces of equipment is a Zeiss Comet 3D scanning system that greatly increases our speed and accuracy for precisely measuring complex shapes that are very difficult to check with any other system. And for incoming material inspection and verification we have an advanced Bruker Platinum ATR spectrometer which helps us verify almost any type of solid raw material with unprecedented accuracy. Taken together, these investments add up to more than 1.3 million USD.
However, the key to making the most of our new capacity is with our professional team of engineers, machinists, tool makers and project managers. In 2017 we added some key personnel in critical areas, which I expect to continue in 2018. Right now we stand at 283 employees, up from 226 at the beginning of last year. That’s an increase of 25%.
To help all of us achieve our potential we’ve created some strategic partnerships. In production, we now have an exclusive relationship with Guhring of Germany, who will provide us with all of our CNC cutters and mills. Their inventory system will help us to monitor our stock more carefully, while their on-site technicians help our machinists use the right tool at the right speed for every job.
Another partnership is with the Institute for Manufacturing, part of the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University. They’re working with us to create roadmaps for technology management, skill building and the path towards Industry 4.0. Improving our operations and developing our team is at the very heart of what I’m focused on. To meet these challenges, I’m passionate about building a team of the most qualified managers, mentors, engineers and technicians working together and sharing their rich experience and knowledge.
All of these initiatives will be under the management of a suite of customized software solutions that will integrate our customer data, business operations and the manufacturing floor more seamlessly and efficiently than ever before. This will make us even more rapid and more responsive to your needs.
With the team that we have assembled now I’m more confident than ever before that we’ll see immensely positive transformation of our business in the coming year. I’m so excited about these new developments and can’t wait to share more with you as we head into the new year.
Happy New Year!