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SSD is reborn as Eurotherm era draws to a close

01 October, 2004

SSD is reborn as Eurotherm era draws to a close

Eurotherm Drives has returned to its historical roots to give itself a new name. The company will now be known as SSD Drives, harking back to the Shackleton System Drives name used when the company was founded in 1974, and subsequently abbreviated to SSD.

The company took the Eurotherm Drives name in 1992 from its parent company at the time. Two years ago, a management team bought the company from the then owner, Invensys, and was allowed to continue using the Eurotherm name for three years.

The new name will avoid confusion with the Eurotherm chart and temperature recorder business, which is still part of Invensys. "Although it is 14 years since we were SSD, the name is still widely known around the world and is synonymous with high quality, innovative drive products," says SSD`s UK sales director, Mark Hartley. "Incorporating the SSD brand into the new SSD Drives company name was the obvious choice."

According to Hartley, the company is in "an extremely healthy position" and has met or exceeded all of its financial targets. Last year, it produced more than 120,000 drives (up from 100,000 the previous year), almost 90% of which were exported. For the first time in its 30-year history, SSD has introduced 24-hour, seven-day manufacturing at its Littlehampton headquarters (pictured above).

Some 350 of SSD`s 1,000-strong global workforce is now based in the UK. The company also has manufacturing plants in the US, Germany and France, where it owns the Parvex servo business.

SSD is in the process of revamping its product line so that nothing is more than three years old. One product in the pipeline is a Firewire-based drive which Hartley claims will be the fastest on the market. This will be aimed at high-end applications such as printing and converting.

SSD is also launching a range of HMIs designed to plug the gap between simple displays and PC-based systems.

One of the company`s traditional strengths has been in DC drives, but these now represent less than 20% of its business. However, Hartley reports that the demand for these drives is still growing in the Far East, and claims that SSD leads the Chinese market for DC drives.

Hartley detects some green shots of recovery in the UK drives market, but adds that " a lot of traditional work isn`t there anymore - large swathes of industry have disappeared". SSD is therefore targeting up new markets in areas such as theatres, radar stations, and cable- and pipe-laying machinery.




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