Edinburgh Instruments, the shining beacon amongst Scotland’s university spin-out success stories, has reached its 40th anniversary and shows no signs of resting on its laurels with a bumper export order book helping to consolidate its growth aspirations primarily across the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
The company, founded by Chief Scientific Officer Professor Desmond Smith OBE FRS, was the first commercial spin out from Heriot-Watt University back in 1971 and the first private company on Britain’s first University Research Park based in Riccarton, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
The company, which currently employs around 70 people, has recently undergone a restructure to focus on two clearly defined business areas – a Photonics division and a Sensors division - and this, according to managing director Alan Faichney, sets the benchmark to help further accelerate international growth for in-demand product portfolio.
“The photonics side of the business now accounts for just over 80% of our sales, with the BRIC nations accounting for the lion’s share of our exports, although we are seeing excellent sales coming through from Eastern Europe and Asia as well. We’ve had strong export sales into China for some considerable time, but interestingly, Russia is a good example of where we have seen a surge of sales activity.
There are so many geographically remote and specialist universities focusing on particular types of research that require our products and expertise, so it opens up an entirely new opportunity for our next generation of scientific instrumentation and laser products.”
In addition to its range of photonic laser and spectroscopy instrumentation, Edinburgh Instruments R&D capability continues to innovate new gas sensor products. The company’s Sensor Division, manufactures high quality, reliable sensors and monitoring systems for gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane. This supports a wide range of market segments and applications, ranging from process control and gas delivery to personal safety, horticulture and landfill gas measurement.
“Like our photonics, division, we’re forging ahead with strong export sales on our Sensors side”, comments Alan Faichney. “Sales into the United States and Canada remain particularly strong and we’re seeing excellent growth in other countries too. We expect this to continue as we bring new gas sensor products onto the market for a wide and diversified range of market applications.”
Edinburgh Instruments’ founder Professor Desmond Smith recently received the Royal Society of Edinburgh Royal Medal from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in recognition for his work in physics research, especially in optoelectronics, spectroscopy and laser technology, and its application in industry and research technology.