C.A.T – Established April 1986 by Paul Hayden
April 1986 – Niche opportunities are spotted for high quality profiles particularly for ceramic floors as well as traditional carpets.
At the time, there was no company that specialised in brass sections and only a very limited range was available from other trim manufacturers. the choice of flooring was increasing rapidly and there was more use of quality vinyls and ceramics in public and retail areas where previously carpet or carpet tile would have been specified.
In May 1986 C.A.T move into a 1000 sq foot warehouse unit on the outskirts of Watford, Hertfordshire.
Drawings are made, dies are produced and a friend welds and sprays 100 merchandisers, Initially doorbar prepacks are made, cut at 4am, packed at 6am and delivered to customers throughout the UK.
As with all start up companies, Paul is the factory operative, van driver and salesman and receives the support of a number of customers which is greatly appreciated, a range of UPVC trims proves popular with installers, and several retail groups choose C.A.T for their refurbishment and new builds.
Business starts to take off and contract lengths are introduced for Debenhams, British Home Stores and Queensway stores, Brass extrusions now arrive from the dies, and machinery is hand made / cobbled together to punch and polish in a labour intensive way.
The brass range grows and a new warehouse becomes home for C.A.T in Tring, Hertfordshire. 3,500 sq feet above a small local brewery! we are on the first floor hand balling tons of brass but the unit is bigger and its cheap, no free beer but the smell of brewing hops means we are a little unsteady most of the time!
The staff has grown to six and the business is growing steadily, We start to major on brass profiles and launch stair nosings and stair rods. an automatic machine replaces our heath robinson prototypes and volumes increase.
The company stay in Tring for five busy years until larger premises are required and C.A.T move to Luton, Bedfordshire and have 6,500 sq feet in which to produce a growing range, stainless steel products are launched and are a great success, investment is made to produce what is a unique metal in the flooring industry, aluminium having been the standard metal of choice with other trim companies.
Like the brass range, stainless steel stocks grow and the company make a sideways move increasing the facility to 13,000 sq feet.
It is 1999 and there are now 18 members of staff, special finishes are introduced as brass, the yellow metal becomes out of fashion. Chrome and antique are now an immediate success and again volumes grow.
The company at this point are still sub contracting plastic extrusion to a local supplier until in 2004 the first plastics extrusion machine is purchased and C.A.T start to make their own PVC and UPVC sections.
In 2007 a new 10,000 sq feet factory in Cornwall is acquired and set up to extrude plastics. The factory space is then increased to 13,000 sq feet providing a total of 26,000 sq feet of production facility on both sites employing 35 members of staff.
Today C.A.T products are installed throughout the world and the company are acknowledged in the flooring industry as the company to call for specialist profiles.
To the present
In 2012 the company are again expanding with another 6000 square feet of factory space for the manufacture of specialist stair edgings and fabrication, though C.A.T may have used up a couple of its lives getting the business to where it is today, all staff look forward to many more years supplying the flooring trade.
Left – Luton Head Office, Right – Hayle Plastics Division