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Motortronics buys UK soft-start pioneer, Fairford Electronics

27 June, 2018

Fairford Electronics, the UK pioneer of soft-starter technology, has been bought by Motortronics, a manufacturer of solid-state AC motor controls and motor protection products, with headquarters in Florida, and operations in the British West Indies, Korea and China. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Motortronics says that Devon-based Fairford will provide it with a range of complementary low-voltage IEC soft-starters, support its growth plans, and accelerate its entry into new markets. The two businesses will continue to use their own names, with the UK operation trading as “Fairford – A part of the Motortronics Group”.

“Fairford provides an exciting opportunity for Motortronics and, specifically, strengthens our position in IEC-class products,” explains its president, Jim Mitchell.

“With operations in the US, UK, Korea and China, Motortronics and Fairford are perfectly placed to offer outstanding support to all markets globally,” adds Brian Hong, managing director of Motortronics Korea.

Fairford’s managing director, Mark Shepherd, says that Motortronics’ strength in medium-voltage and ANSI soft-starters, combined with Fairford’s expertise in low-voltage IEC soft-starters, “provides a major growth opportunity for both businesses and extends the product range for all our customers.”

Fairford Electronics managing director, Mark Shepherd: a major opportunity

Fairford was founded in 1979 by Ray Bristow, who became known as “the father of the soft-start”. In 1982, Fairford  became the first company in the world to design and produce a digital three-phase soft-starter with automatic energy optimising. The technology was granted patents in the US, Japan, Australia and Europe.

Fairford went on to make soft-starts that it sold under its own name and also brand-labelled for other manufacturers including Baldor, Moeller, Carlo Gavazzi, Gefran and Automation Direct. Fairford was acquired the Italian company SIEI which, in 2006, sold it to another Devon company, the Crown Graphic Group.

Motortronics, founded in 1982, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solid-state power controls, with more than 300 employees. It has shipped more than one million solid-state starters and controllers.

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