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Motor controls firm rockets into the tech charts

01 October, 2004

Motor controls firm rockets into the tech charts

A Walsall-based manufacturer of energy-saving motor controls has been named as one of the UK`s fastest-growing technology companies. EMS (European) was placed at number 20 in the Tech Track 100 survey, published recently by The Sunday Times.

EMS, founded in 1997, achieved sales in 2003 worth £1.48m - a 177% increase on the previous year. The company, which employs a dozen people, sells controllers under the EnviroStart brand name, to customers including Whitbread, Jaguar, Nestle, and Lloyds TSB. The energy savings depend on the application, but Pizza Hut has used the technology to cut the cost of running its refrigerators by around 25%.

EMS`s main product line is a range of fixed-speed energy controllers for single- and three-phase motors, targeting applications such refrigeration, escalators and air-conditioning. It also sells soft-starts, digital voltage controllers, and digital pulse regulators.

The company acquired its energy-saving technology when it bought Eurelec from the Spire Group in early 2002. Eurelec had been founded in the 1990s to develop software for controlling single- and three-phase motors, based on a technology originally developed by NASA for controlling single-phase motors.

Although other companies supply similar products, EMS claims that none of the others offer the stability or the control capabilities of its technology.

"When we took on Eurelec, we bought a goldmine without anyone realising it," says managing director Jonathan Hughes. He concedes that EMS may not be able to maintain its previous growth rate, "but we will continue to grow".

At present, EMS sub-contracts PCB manufacturing but it programs its chips and assembles hardware in house. The company is looking at forming joint ventures abroad and is considering expanding into lighting controls.

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