Ion Science moves to new £4.5million HQ
Gas detection specialist firm growing at 30 per cent a year
Ion Science, the rapidly-growing manufacturer of high-performance gas detection instrumentation and sensors, has moved into its state-of-the-art £4.5million headquarters.
The company, which is growing at around 30 per cent a year, has stayed in Fowlmere and moved a short distance to the purpose-built, 1,500 sq m HQ in The Hive, in Butts Lane.
Ion Science is a leader in photoionisation detection (PID) technology and claims to manufacture and supply more PID sensors than any other gas detection company in the world.
Its sensors are used by global gas detection manufacturers for occupational health and environmental monitoring, and they are found within most PID instrumentation available today for the detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Ion Science’s instruments are designed for use across a wide number of applications, including oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical, industrial hygiene, environmental, pharmaceutical and hazardous materials.
Rapid growth prompted the major investment in the new HQ.
“We needed the space. We are at around £16m turnover and we are highly profitable,” said managing director Duncan Johns. “We are growing at around 40 per cent this year. We grew about 30 per cent last year, and expect to keep growing at around that rate for the next five years.”
And there was a family connection to the design of the new building, as Mr Johns explained: “It was designed by one of my cousins, Gary Johns, an architect in Ely. He was very sympathetic to what we were trying to do and he delivered. It is very flexible – if we wanted to change it all tomorrow, we could do that.
“It is not your classic factory by any stretch of the imagination. Some people have been to see it and said it looks like a very luxurious house. We will be able to live in it for the next 10 years.”
Ion Science, founded in 1989, manufactures a range of technologically-advanced PID sensors, VOC detectors, leak detectors, benzene monitors and mercury detectors, which are sold via a worldwide network of distributors.
Mr Johns, who joined as MD in 1999, said: “PID technology has been around since the 1960s – it was developed in Cambridge in 1963 – and we have miniaturised it and made it more sensitive than ever before.”
Ion Science is renowned for the humidity-resistant performance of its technology. Johns ascribes much of the company’s success to its understanding of the key issues and its intellectual property in monitoring gaseous atmospheres in high humidity in countries like China and elsewhere in Asia.
“The VOC marketplace is exploding, particularly in Asia where indoor air quality is a big issue. The average person in China will understand what a VOC is,” said Mr John.
Ion Science currently employs 60 people at its Fowlmere base and Johns expects that to grow to 100 by the end of next year, mainly with roles in production engineering but also in sales and marketing.
Mr Johns said: “There is growth across the world. There is high growth in China and in Asia, and in Europe too. We are investing heavily in R & D, nearly £1m every year. With the new facility, we’re now ideally positioned to focus on further expanding our presence in global occupational health and environmental monitoring applications.”
More by this authorJohn Downing