Invented in Cambridge. Made in CambridgeCambridge usually conjures up images of dreaming spires and punting on the river rather than manufacturing industry but, nevertheless it is home to one of the UK's fastest growing exporters - Zettlex, a company that designs and makes high precision position sensors for harsh environments.
"The UK is our single largest market but exports now account for more than half of our revenue and the proportion is increasing as the company grows", says Mark Howard, general manager at Zettlex. "At last count, we have sold product to 30 countries - all the ones that one might expect such as USA, Japan and Germany but also some others that we would not have predicted - Turkey, Croatia and Romania."
The company motto is 'Precision in the Extreme' reflecting the a focus on accurate position and speed measurement technology operating in conditions that would normally rule out traditional sensors. Zettlex's products are used by OEMs and system integrators in the medical, industrial, defence, aerospace and petrochemical industries. Incoder is Zettlex's range of high-precision angle and motor encoders - a range which offers more than four million product variants.
Howard adds: "I suspect most engineers in the UK have a sneaking admiration of the Germans and I'm no exception. I'm not sure what the English equivalent of Germany's 'Mittelstand' is but that's exactly our model - technically specialist, highly competent, global exports, long term perspective, big enough to cope and small enough to care."
Steven Bowns of Technology Futures in Cambridge comments: "Cambridge is often associated with high-tech industry but mostly this is to do with the 'front end' - innovation, research, design and development. That's certainly where Zettlex started off but unlike most Cambridge companies they've carried on their work through in to industrialisation on a significant scale and are now expanding through export. Interestingly, they've achieved this without venture capital, and remain an independent company."
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