[caption id="attachment_64215" align="alignright" width="360"] onal Machine’s speedy new million dollar laser cutter feeds metal sheets automatically.[/caption]

PETALUMA – Donal Machine has upped its capacity by 50 percent with the purchase of a state-of-the-art laser cutter.

The ISO-certified precision metal fabrication company bought a German-made Trumf cutter for “just under a million dollars,” according to vice president and co-owner Bob Bergstedt.

He’s excited about the 5,000-watt machine’s speed and its ability to load and cut up to 15 sheets of metal automatically.

“The last cutter we bought was in 1999, and the technology has advanced quite a bit. This is an incredibly powerful machine,” he said.

Donal Machine will use it to cut highly precise sheet metal forms for a number of industries, including aerospace, food processing, winemaking, trash hauling and solar components.

The company, founded by Mr. Bergstedt’s father in 1967 and now operated by his three children, makes components for industrial machinery.

The 40-employee company will have revenues of about $6 million this year.

“We suffered a bump in 2008 when the economy went south, but fortunately our reliance on the housing market was not enough to sink us,” he said. “Now we’re hiring.”

The new Trumpf laser cutter will free up workers from using forklifts to load sheet metal into the machine for other tasks. No layoffs will result.

“If anything, it’ll lead to more hiring as we look to match our new capacity with more volume. We haven’t put a lot of energy into sales in the past – most of our customers come to us through word-of-mouth – but I suppose it’s time for that to change,” he said.

For more information, visit www.donalmachine.com.