It is rocket science as Zettlex collects Queen's Award
Second win in succession for Foxton firm
Zettlex hosted an event at its Foxton base on Friday to receive its second Queen’s Award for Industry from Lord Lieutenant Cambridgeshire Julie Spence.
The award for international trade follows last year’s innovation accolade and reflects Zettlex’s strong export growth, with exports to 50 countries accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the company’s sales.
“I came here last year, and it was my first award, so it’s great to be here again,” Mrs Spence told the audience in a marquee on the lawn. “Cambridgeshire really does salute your success, so from all of us, well done.”
“I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Zettlex,” said the firm’s managing director, Mark Howard. “This one is for international trade, and last year’s was for innovation, though we all know that it’s really for hard work – and if there was an award for hard work we’d win that too.”
Zettlex has two local sites: the Foxton base is for sales, marketing and R&D, and the other – in Newton – is for production.
“We make our sensors in Newton,” operations manager John Parsons explained following the ceremony. “We ship 600-700 sensors on a good week, though that can go up to 1,400 if necessary.”
Zettlex is the world’s leading provider of position and speed sensors for harsh environments. The sensors are used in control systems by equipment manufacturers in the industrial, medical, defence and aerospace sectors.
“Zettlex has been growing at more than 30 per cent a year for the last five years and there’s no sign of a slowdown,” said Mr Howard. “Our sensors are being used in equipment such as medical scanners, surgical robotics, space rockets, submarines and racing cars. Almost 90 per cent of sales are for export and the bulk of this is for countries with whom the UK has no trade deal such as US, Brazil, India and South Korea.”
Guests circulated between the marquee and the office where a demonstration room showcased the firm’s products. Marketing manager Josef de Pfeiffer talked visitors through videos involving Zettlex’s inductive proximity sensors in use for non-contact detection of metallic objects. Situations included air-to-air refuelling, Formula 1 cars, space rockets and a Da Vinci surgical robot.
“Zettlex is investing in a new plant and equipment, recruiting more staff and we’ve recently applied for planning permission for a new technology centre in Foxton to expand our R&D labs and technology operations,” Mr Howard added. “This will allow us retain our skilled local workforce and keep using local suppliers – we buy nearly 80 per cent of our materiel from other UK companies.”
Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, said: “Zettlex continues to power from strength to strength, flying the flag for British innovation, manufacturing and export. I am so proud to represent South Cambridgeshire, a constituency where exemplary high-tech businesses flourish. Congratulations once again to everyone at Zettlex, we take our hats off to you!”