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Soft-start pioneers join forces

23 July, 2009

Two UK suppliers of soft-starts have joined forces, with Devon-based Fairford Electronics taking over responsibility for sales, marketing and support for soft-start products previously sold by Huddersfield-based S2S, which will now focus on manufacturing PCBs and assembling products. S2S’s soft-starts will continue to be available but will be replaced gradually by Fairford products carrying the S2S name. S2S will also do some manufacturing for Fairford.

Both companies were founded in 1979, and in 1983 entered a partnership with S2S selling a range of soft-starts using Fairford PCBs. S2S started life as part of the RFW Saftronics joint venture between RF Winder and Saftronics of South Africa. In 1983, Saftronics became independent and in 1986 Saftronics 2S was formed to focus on soft-starts. In 1995, it bought the electronic production business Elpro, and in 2004 renamed itself S2S Electronics.

Fairford claims to have produced the world’s first digital energy-optimising soft-start in 1982, and says it now manufactures the world’s largest range of LV soft-starts. More than half of its business comes from badging products for other suppliers including Baldor, Moeller, Carlo Gavazzi, Gefran and, most recently, Automation Direct in the US. Some 86% of Fairford’s business comes from outside the UK.

Recently, Fairford has set up a new company called Fairford Energy to market energy-saving products for lighting installations as well as for motor control applications.

Fairford is owned by Julian Tope who first got involved with the business when it was bought by his previous company, the Crown Graphic Group, in 2006.




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