Local Durrington company Eurotherm by Schneider Electric celebrated 50 years in Worthing yesterday swathing their head office in gold banners, bunting and balloons.
The highlight of the day was the burying of a time capsule by Worthing Mayor Michael Donin with Eurotherm staff both current and retired all present to see. A special note was the recognition of one of the longest serving staff Lynda Tomes, of 47 years service, who retires next month.
A journey that began as a modest UK start-up company in one of the founders’ garage in 1965, led to a globally recognized brand known for its specialist instrumentation, systems and services. Product development starting in that garage resulted in the birth of the MK1 Temperature Controller. This first solid state control product exploited the rapidly expanding high-technology electronics of the 1960s.
Today, Eurotherm products touch nearly every aspect of modern life, from the car you drive, the electronic circuitry in your phone, the prescription pills that aid quality of life and your early morning bottle of milk. Heat Treatment, Life Sciences, Glass, Plastics and Food & Beverage are focus industries and where Eurotherm have deep application expertise.
Solving customer problems is key at Eurotherm and engineers talk with passion about how many of the technical leaps and creative ideas came. Employees have always had strong relationships with their customers, feeling responsible for products throughout their entire life time (which can span decades), and understanding the impact of problems that can slow down manufacturing.
Eurotherm engineers are so good at finding innovative solutions and illustrating complex theories that many of their working demonstrations are key attractions at engineering and science fairs across Sussex, attended by Eurotherm STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) ambassadors, to demonstrate complex engineering problems to school age children in an easy to understand way.
Eurotherm built on the early successes after the first control product and expanded by recognizing the growth potential of industrial electronics. Many locals may still remember these names from Worthing during the 70s and 80s as independent companies were setup to develop and manufacture Data Recorders (Chessell), Control Automation Systems (TCS Turnbull Control Systems) and Variable Speed Industrial Drives (SSD Shackleton System Drives).
All four companies achieved international success and in 1974 were brought under a single international holding company, Eurotherm International, later to become part of Invensys in 1999 through the merger of Siebe plc with BTR plc. Most recently, Eurotherm was acquired by Schneider Electric in January 2014. Eurotherm became Eurotherm by Schneider Electric, and notably, were placed in the ‘Best in Class’ specialist division within the Schneider Electric Industry business group.
Eurotherm engineers often apply an innovative solution, based on a creative mix of process control and industrial application expertise, to get a process running as quickly as possible. This has resulted in many innovations, seen on the Eurotherm timeline here: http://www.eurotherm.co.uk/50/category/milestones/.
Process control expert and Global Marketing Manager, Peter Sherwin remembers one of these, the launch of the world beating first hybrid graphic recorder, the 4250G. It had a graphic display, built in memory for recording data in a secure digital format with the reassurance of a paper chart back up behind the screen. It was the first step in moving the regulated industries from paper records to digital which is now a well-accepted data collection method in most industries. Peter said: “After a month, we were happy with the digital data and never changed the original paper.”
So why do customers continue to choose Eurotherm? According to Chris Ashworth, Vice President and Managing Director: “The success we have had over the last 50 years is really about two things, our innovation as a company and our people. We have a talented and knowledgeable employee base in Worthing, and globally that includes segment and application experts, who support both our sales organisation and our customers.
“Since 2014, we also have the global powerhouse of Schneider Electric to further strengthen our offerings. In turn, the quality of our instrumentation, specialist knowledge within the industry and the integrity of our intellectual property strengthen the industrial offering of Schneider Electric.”