Fifteen East of England businesses covering a range of specialisms were today unveiled as Queen’s Awards winners on Her Majesty’s 91st birthday.
The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Cambridge’s Domino Printing Sciences – which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year – and which wins its sixth Queen’s Award to underline the enduring quality of the business.
Its previous Queen’s Award was for international trade in 2012; this time Domino is honoured in the Innovation category for innovation in industrial printers.
Another six local companies won a Queen’s Award for Innovation – EcoTile Flooring (Luton), Green Energy Options (Hardwick), PCME (St Ives), Peli BioThermal (Leighton Buzzard), Syne Qua Non (Norfolk) and Zettlex (UK) Ltd (Cambridge).
Eight East of England companies won a Queen’s Award for International Trade, namely 42 Technology (St Ives), C&K Meats (Suffolk), Cambridge Consultants, Cellbond (a division of Encocam Ltd, Huntingdon), Dura Composites (Clacton), G. B. Kent & Sons Plc (Hemel Hempstead), Isomerase Therapeutics (Cambridge), Superyacht Tenders & Toys (Harkstead, Suffolk).
The Queen’s Award citation says that Domino’s A-Series i-Tech printers have benefited from a range of design and technology changes to facilitate improvements in cleaning and servicing of printers, handling waste, reducing ink usage and optimising print quality.
One key improvement is the i-Tech Module that contains all the elements that require servicing. Previously such a task would take three hours; the same task can now be completed by an operator in 10 minutes.
The redesign was based on advances in contactless level sensing, drip-free valves and advanced injection moulding design capabilities. Sales of the innovative product have outstripped overall company growth with an annual doubling of sales over the past five years.
Domino CEO Nigel Bond (pictured above) said: “We are honoured and proud to have been selected for a Queen’s Award For Innovation. It is fitting tribute to our skilled and talented team who have worked on the A-Series and i-Tech ink system which is proving so popular with customers across the world and is delivering real benefits to their operations.”
Eco-Tile Flooring’s innovation is in injection-moulded industrial tiles. It had previously not been possible to use injection moulding to simultaneously manufacture two separate poly vinyl chloride (PVC) elements within a single component.
EcoTile has redesigned the injection moulding process and re-engineered the machinery to achieve this aim. This has allowed the company to use recycled PVC in the core of the tile instead of virgin material. The consequent reduction in raw material costs means that price sensitive markets including Eastern Europe, Turkey and Africa have now opened up.
Green Energy Options is recognised for its in-home energy monitoring device, Solo, which allows domestic consumers to monitor their electricity use and compare consumption to expected normal levels depending on the home, season or day.
PCME wins for an emissions monitoring device for power stations. The device is based on light scattering that has reduced purchase price by 20 per cent and has operational benefits. The device needed to be highly reliable, not susceptible to blocking and fouling, able to operate in the challenging environment of the flue stack and meet strict regulatory standards in the US, China and Europe.
Syne Qua Non, based in Diss, wins an Innovation award for development of a clinical data capture system called Syne-clin.
The system utilises mobile devices and internet connection to simplify and speed up the collection of data by clinicians, including image and diagrammatic input and review. Additionally, the system allows for patient input through their own mobile devices with ongoing developments to enhance capture of data from wearable monitors.
Communication can be two-way with patients being reminded to take medication, for example. By providing real-time aggregation of data and reporting the system reduces the time taken to establish and deliver clinical trials, thereby shortening the drug development life-cycle. Syne Qua Non previously received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Export) in 2009.
Zettlex (UK) Ltd specialises that specialises in the manufacture of precision speed and position sensors. A Queen’s Award for Innovation is made for the IncOder range sensors for use in harsh conditions.
The technology can measure 1000 points across a human hair even when the sensor is covered in mud or dirt, in extremes of temperature or in the depths of the ocean.
By using a printed technology rather than a traditional transformer, IncOder offers a lightweight, low cost and reliable range of sensors that are used in machines from aeroplanes to surgical robots.
To overcome the limitations of printed structures a patented signal boosting approach was taken. Each sensor contains an embedded chip using specifically designed software to enable the highly accurate measurements.
Company turnover has grown at an average of 13 per cent per year over the past five years driven by increasing sales of the IncOder range.
St Ives-based tech consultancy 42 Technology is an International Trade category winner for “outstanding continuous growth over the last six years.”
It provides contract R & D engineering services, delivering high quality, bespoke product development support to companies whose business are dependent upon manufacturing, design, research and development.
It has set out to grow the company with a clear focus on targeted markets in Europe and recently the US. Over the last six-year period, export sales have averaged over 40 per cent of business and have grown on average by over 50 per cent per annum, with a substantial increase in 2015 of 155 per cent. The company has succeeded in growing turnover from £2.71 million in 2011 to £6.2 million in 2015. Profits have risen to just over £1 million in the last year.
Cambridge Consultants is credited as being a founding mother and father of the Cambridge Phenomenon and also wins an International Trade Award for strong growth over the last three years.
Founded in 1960, Cambridge Consultants is described as “a world-class product development company” in the Queen’s Awards citation.
Its clients, who are leading players in their respective sectors in Europe, the US and Asia, use the company’s services to design new innovative products and services.
Cambridge Consultants has seen overseas sales grow by over £10 million over the three-year period from £34.2m in 2013 to nearly £44.9m in 2015. Turnover has risen by £20m during this period with net profits in the latest year of £8.3m. Exports consistently represent over two-thirds of total sales.
Fellow International Trade winner Cellbond has been involved in energy absorption and vehicle safety testing since 1988, designing and manufacturing technology based composite structures and crash tTest dummies.
Cellbond is a market leader in the automotive market for safety testing products, with around 80 per cent of market share worldwide and is involved in developing new products that will become standard testing equipment globally.
Cellbond is established in Western Europe and the Far East including Japan and China and has multilingual capabilities in nine languages and employees from 21 different countries.
Overseas sales have grown by 27 per cent over the last three years with an increase in UK employees and profitability. The proportion of sales exported has increased to 91 per cent of total sales.
International Trade winner Isomerase Therapeutics, based at Chesterford Research Park, is a biotech company established in 2012 to discover and develop new drugs from natural sources.
The company operates a dual business model offering fee-for-service contract research to global pharma partners, reinvesting the profits from this activity into the development of a proprietary suite of novel drug discovery technologies which have the potential to deliver a new generation of medicines for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease.
Export is key to the business as the majority of industrial partners are based overseas resulting in collaborations with partners in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Isomerase’s top five markets in the last year were Sweden, the US, Switzerland, Taiwan and Slovenia. Overseas sales have risen from £159k to £1.2m, an overall growth of 657 per cent with exports representing 85 per cent of all sales.
• Business Weekly’s April 27 edition in print and digital formats contains an inside track feature on the Queen’s Awards – ‘For Queen & Country’ – which goes under the hood of major winners and explains how your business can win a Royal badge of honour. Non-subscribers can place an order for the edition through your local newsagent.