The business is established from a home extension and borrowed space from friends in the industry.
The entire product range consists of three UPVC sections and one brass section for ceramic flooring.
The focus is on brass profiles and designs are made for solid extrusions previously unavailable in the industry.
A small 1000 sq foot warehouse is rented in Watford, finishing equipment is cobbled together and press work is subcontracted to a friend on a farm.
More space is needed. The company rent 3500 sq feet of warehouse space in Tring, Hertfordshire. The warehouse is on a first floor, not ideal when working with 350kg crates of brass. It’s cheap though and the extra space is utilised with an automatic polishing machine, a big improvement in polishing the profiles individually.
We are still a very small business with just five employees but becoming well known as specialists in quality brass products for flooring.
Five very busy years at Tring and more space is again needed. A 6000 sq foot unit is available in Luton, Bedfordshire.
The unit is in a tired state so the company fit it out to be workable over a six week period whilst slowly moving over from Tring.
Plastics are a major part of the business though the brass range is growing rapidly. C.A.T. now have the largest range of solid brass profiles in the flooring industry.
C.A.T. see an opportunity for stainless steel sections (a metal popular with architects and specifiers) A range of products is developed and this complements the brass range superbly and C.A.T. stainless is well received by clients requiring a better finish than aluminium.
C.A.T. are the first accessory business in the U.K. to produce stainless steel profiles and our reputation as specialists strengthens.
A fabrication and bespoke department is established and forming machinery is purchased for the curving and forming of metals.
To date nobody has provided a service for the forming of floor profiles, yet, architects are specifying flowing shapes in floors, curves are in, and corners are out.
During this period all the press work is brought in house, and power presses are purchased so C.A.T are no longer reliant upon subcontractors to press profiles. Another polishing machine is commissioned and the company lease another 6000 sq feet adjacent to the current unit which starts to fill very rapidly as expansion continues.
At this time brass (the yellow metal) goes out of fashion, C.A.T. develop new colours in plastics and most importantly take a bold step to create special finishes on brass, designed for the commercial and residential markets.
Another first for C.A.T. chrome is an immediate success and early trials for antique finishes are carried out at home on the weekends. C.A.T. have found a niche for brass by applying special finishes. Customers and Developers absolutely love the finishes and we are again market innovators.
A decision is made to purchase a plastics extruder and employ an experienced manager. C.A.T. are now in control of plastic profile production and set to developing sections in UPVC and PVC predominantly for the commercial and high street market.
C.A.T. are now providing the industry with a wide range of UPVC sections for the timber and ceramic sector of the industry and develop a section that can be formed on site “Spectrum ZIP” in a variety of colours, popular again with specifiers allowing curves on site without the cost of fabrication and is fitter friendly being easily installed.
The plastics side of the business becomes increasingly important and a factory in Cornwall is purchased. This also becomes the facility for R&D and production of marketing material. Just as the company fit out the factory and settle into production - the U.K. goes into recession.
We work through the recession and in 2012 acquire a further 6000 sq feet of factory space in Luton. The company now produce the largest range of brass stair nosings in the U.K. as well as flooring profiles and introduce aluminium profiles and reach out to the middle market with high quality designs.
The catalogue becomes The Comprehensive CAT with products for all sectors of the industry and all types of flooring.
Heavy duty carborundum treads are developed in Cornwall for exterior and heavily trafficked environments and an industry specialist is employed to develop new carborundum products.
Specialist machinery is purchased to increase production of stainless steel products.
C.A.T. celebrate thirty years in business and produce over five hundred products and whilst still regarded as specialists are acknowledged as major suppliers.
To date C.A.T. are at a pivotal point in the company’s history with the need for more manufacturing space in addition to Luton and Cornwall facilities.
C.A.T. now supply hundreds of products to thousands of customers in the U.K. and export for projects throughout the world including USA, Australia and the Middle East. We recognize and value the relationship with our customers and suppliers and the contribution they have made to the business.