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Invertek aims to triple sales in coming year

01 June, 2002

Invertek aims to triple sales in coming year

The small Welsh drives-maker Invertek is challenging Vacon`s claim to be the fastest-growing company in the drives market. According to Rhydian Welson, the company`s sales and marketing director, Invertek has been doubling its turnover every 12 months, and hopes to treble the figure in the coming year.

Although Invertek has a relatively low profile in the UK – its Optidrives are sold here by MoellerElectric – around 85% of what it manufactures is now being exported to more than 35 different countries, including China and Korea.

The company has recently started making inroads into the US and has developed a single-phase drive especially for this market. According to Welson, Invertek`s small size was vital factor in winning this business because it was agile enough to develop the new software for the single-phase application within four weeks.

Invertek director Charles Haspel points out that single-phase drives have usually been regarded as "low-specification, poor relations" of three-phase drives, "but it`s really an untapped part of the market". The company`s single-phase systems will be sold in the US under the Eagledrive name by Anacon Systems, which has a network of more than 40 distributors.

Haspel was one of the five former Control Techniques employees who formed Invertek in 1998. Three of the five are still running the company and were joined by Welson (also from CT) last year.

At present, Invertek has a full-time staff of 16 people producing about 30,000 drives a year. In the past year, it has invested more than £1m to enhance it production facilities and now has the capacity to make 60,000 drives a year.

Invertek is continuing to develop its range. It has recently introduced a fieldbus gateway which allows up to eight drives to be used on Profibus DP, DeviceNet or Modbus systems. The drives are interconnected using low-cost plastic fibre optic cables - or glass fibres if drives are separated by more than 3m.

Within 18 months, Invertek plans to extend its top rating from the recently introduced 160kW to 315kW. It is also planning a higher shaft performance Optidrive to run alongside the existing range. There will also be a 525V range designed particularly for mining applications. Within two to three years, the company plans to add a systems drive to its portfolio, offering servo and closed-loop control.

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