20 March 2015


Nwes, as proud sponsors of the ‘Small Business of the Year Award’, congratulates Zettlex UK Ltd, the winner in the category at last nights ceremony.

In 2005, a small shed in Mark Howard’s garden was the ‘start-up unit’ of Zettlex.  The firm now supplies ‘precision in the extreme’ to OEMs and system integrators around the world, from the industrial, defence, aerospace, motor sport, medical, and oil and gas sectors.

Mark and his business partner Darran Kreit remain the firm’s directors, along with their respective wives.  The company turned over £10,000 in its first year, a figure which is expected to rise to £2.2 million in 2015.  All this despite having no external investment.

Zettlex UK Ltd designs and builds sensors to enable precision measurement of position or speed under hostile conditions and in harsh environments, including high speeds, extreme temperatures, liquid immersion, shock and vibration, electromagnetic noise,  aggressive chemicals and potentially explosive environments.  Possibly the most dangerous example of what constitutes extreme conditions is in aircraft-to-aircraft refuelling.  In this scenario, Zettlex’s speed and precision sensors are used to ensure the tricky mid-air manoeuvre goes without a hitch.

Their sensors use a unique inductive, non-contact technology to deliver high accuracy measurements, with high reliability.  The fundamental physics is similar to a transformer but uses printed circuits instead of the bulky components of wound traditional inductive sensors.  The result is a more compact, accurate, and lightweight position sensors.  There are no contacts, bearings, nor delicate parts to Zettlex’s robust product which, in turn, requires no maintenance giving, the website states, ‘just accurate measurements – all day, every day.’

The organisation also supplies sensor components, and will develop sensors bespoke to customer requirements, manufacturing in many different shapes and sizes including linear, rotary (single & multi-turn), curvi-linear, 2D & 3D.   Position measurement also allows for the measurement of tilt, weight, pressure, vibration, strain, and flow.

“We want to be the world’s technical experts in sensors that work in extreme conditions,” explained Mark.  “Our sensors are sent to all corners of the globe, with 81% of the business coming from exports – of which 30-40% is to clients in the United States.”

With a global market share of less than 1%, Mark believes the firm, which is based in Newton, Cambridgeshire, still has plenty of growth potential.  “We have a team of good people and good engineers,” he said. “We’re poised for more growth, and are very positive about the future.”

Our congratulations also go to all other award winners, and to each of the other finalists in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category: Arcus Global, Featurespace, and Syndicate Room.

Written by Davina Young @ Nwes


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