Lazer Safe, a Global Success
Perth-based Lazer Safe is a technology company specialising in the development and manufacture of control, safety and operator protection systems for press brakes and related sheet metal machinery. The company also supplies optical laser protection systems for the press brake retrofit market. These systems improve the safety of existing machinery to protect operators from injury without compromising machine performance.
Despite its humble beginnings, Lazer Safe has grown to become a leading global supplier of safety and operator protection technology, exporting to primary markets in Europe, Japan, North America and China and secondary markets in South America, Turkey, Southeast Asia, Middle East, India and Australasia.
According to Rob Appleyard, company founder and Managing Director, capturing and defending Lazer Safe’s intellectual property has been integral to facilitating company growth and success.
“When I got involved in the press brake market, I started my company in a 4×4 office space with a telephone book. Lazer Safe was based on ideas and technology that I knew had to be patented.”
Rob initially engaged Watermark on the strength of a referral from a business associate and he has continued to work closely with Mark Pullen, Principal, as Lazer Safe has evolved over the last two decades.
Rob says, “I value their depth of experience and I enjoy bouncing ideas off very knowledgeable people. Mark is more than a patent attorney.”
Rob says that having robust IP in place allowed him to launch on the international market and attract investment.
“To enter the European market, you need CE certification as part of European standards. It can be a very complicated process and my patents formed an integral part of my application. There’s no doubt that having well-documented technology also helped me achieve financial backing.”
Reflecting on the value of IP, Rob says, “For us, patents serve a dual purpose. They not only capture technical merits, but they protect the personality of our products. You have to stand by your patents and its important for customers to see you defending your IP – this instils their confidence in you. In effect, you’re backing up the strength of your product and defending your company integrity.”
With a focus on continuous innovation, Rob continues to steer the technological direction of Lazer Safe which remains a wholly-owned Australian company. Next on the horizon, he says, is an expansion into the area of machine productivity. No doubt, there are exciting times ahead.
And Rob’s advice to start ups or researchers who want to commercialise their product or idea? “Have faith in your product or idea. Don’t take no for an answer. And, as you’re presenting your product or idea to market, really listen and take in what your customers and the market generally are saying. You can’t be dismissive of the market – you need to modify and think along their lines. If you are flexible, agile and nimble, you’ll always win out.”