Who’s flying high in the Cotswolds: 20 innovative companies
PUBLISHED: 16:57 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:57 05 July 2017
From aerospace to the automotive industry, food science to medical technology giants, when it comes to innovation, the Cotswolds have been at the forefront or decades. Lucy Parford delves into some of the movers and shakers making groundbreaking advances day in, day out
Being at the cutting edge of the aerospace industry has always attracted the best companies and inventors to choose the Cotswolds as their home. Across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire are extraordinary companies doing incredible work.
The value of aircraft deliveries to UK industry recently reached a new record of £6.5bn according to ADS, the trade organisation for companies in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.
Gloucestershire is a significant aerospace cluster with world-leaders including Dowty Propellers, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty and Babcock all based here. Oxfordshire is synonymous with world-renowned medical companies providing research solutions and devices which are exported all over the world. Oxford Sciences Innovation has a long-term partnership with the University of Oxford to create an ecosystem where spinouts can succeed. Last year it launched 24 companies with a combined £52.6m in early stage funding.
Invest in Worcestershire champions the county as being home to an internationally-recognised technology cluster, with world-class software, internet and cyber security, electronics and agri-tech companies pioneering new products and services.
Exciting plans are also in the pipeline with a £30m Creative Quarter for Leamington Spa, building on its reputation as a digital games industry hub.
The Cotswolds is where it’s at...
Founded in 2011, Versarien’s mission is to create new materials suitable for commercial use.
To date, Versarien’s management has been quick to realise the potential of innovative technologies and capitalise on this. Versarien’s current portfolio of companies is at the forefront of innovation; its subsidiaries manufacture hard-wearing materials suitable for arduous environments, micro-porous metals for thermal management, plastics ready for graphene enhancement, as well as graphene materials R&D and manufacture.
GE Aviation is a world-leading provider of commercial, military and business and general aviation jet and turboprop engines and components, as well as avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for aircraft.
As a leader in the development, manufacture and support of electronically controlled, all-composite propeller systems, GE Aviation’s Dowty Propellers, in Gloucester, provides solutions for the propulsion needs of today and tomorrow. Its products are used in applications that range from commercial airliners and military airlifters to multi-role seaplanes and marine hovercraft.
ADEY Professional Heating Solutions, in Cheltenham, is the industry-leading manufacturer of magnetic filters for the maintenance and protection of central heating systems.
ADEY’s pioneering work in maintaining and protecting central heating systems has been rewarded with a second Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for innovation. The award celebrates the excellence achieved by ADEY in developing its innovative range of high-performance chemicals, specifically the MC1+ ‘Protector’ and MC3+ ‘Cleaner’ range of products.
Advanced Insulation, in Gloucester, has been providing innovative solutions to a range of global markets, predominately offshore oil and gas, since its formation in 2007. It represents one of the most respected and progressive names in topside and subsea insulation worldwide and has successfully diversified into markets including Offshore Buoyancy and Marine.
This year it has received a Queen’s Award for Innovation for its new system, ContraTherm C25, a syntactic silicone subsea insulation system. The company has won three previous Queen’s Awards in International Trade and Innovation.
With design influences spanning traditional to cutting edge contemporary, Kohler UK, which has a base in Cheltenham, offers a wide range of products across bathroom suites, showers and kitchens.
It received a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in Innovation this year for the Mira Flight Safe anti-slip shower tray which combines stylish aesthetics with the ultimate in product safety.
The company also won a Sustainable Manufacturing Award at Cotswold Life’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Innovation (EMI) awards last year.
This Stonehouse-based company supplies a large range of Red Tractor-accredited meat, poultry and MSC and MCS fish, vegetarian, organic, gluten-free and bakery products for the food service markets.
It won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation after it developed a portion-controlled chicken breast fillet for school catering. Having recognised the need for consistently sized, ethically-sourced chicken portions for schools, it identified a part of the chicken breast which could be utilised to provide the required protein.
Working with suppliers and producers, Green Gourmet developed a process to make chicken portions to a consistent weight.
Owen Mumford, in Oxford, is a global industry leader in medical device design and manufacturing.
It develops pioneering medical products under its own Owen Mumford brands, as well as custom device solutions for the world’s leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.
These innovations help patients and healthcare professionals deliver effective treatments for conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many other therapy areas.
The company won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation this year in recognition of the new innovations in medical device design and manufacturing Owen Mumford has developed to improve quality of life, encourage adherence to treatment and reduce healthcare costs.
Titania, in Worcester, provides intelligent cyber security automation for businesses. With a roster of clients including governments, banks and global corporations, Titania has a proven track record in helping businesses of any size build a stronger cyber security foundation.
In the past eight years, Titania has grown from a start-up to a team of 50 people servicing over 80 countries worldwide with a 400 per cent growth rate in the past year. With 90 per cent of business coming from exports, it’s a great case study for how entrepreneurial British companies can grow in international markets. It was also awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation this year.
Nick Grey resigned his position as Head of Product Development at a vacuum manufacturer and founded Gtech (Grey Technology) in 2001.
Working initially from his Worcestershire home, he developed the world’s first cordless power sweeper. Since then, Gtech has gone from strength to strength and has sold more than 22 million products in 19 countries with employees in the UK, United States and China, making it experts in the field of cordless innovation.
As a leader in orthopaedic innovation, Cirencester-based Corin Group has pioneered a number of landmark developments since it was founded in 1985.
Through the introduction of ground-breaking products, it has helped to improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of patients around the world. A worldwide network of research associations and continued investment in new technologies and product development ensure Corin remains at the forefront of innovation.
Since 1999, Fasthosts in Gloucester has been designing new ways to give customers everything they need to manage and control their online space.
Innovation drives everything it does, ensuring it offers the latest internet technology across its range of services including domain names, shared web hosting, business-class email, dedicated servers, cloud servers, secure online storage and online backup.
Operating 24/7 from its dedicated UK data centres, Fasthosts keeps over a million domains running smoothly and ensures over 42 million emails are delivered safely each day.
Spirax Sarco, in Cheltenham, is synonymous with excellence in steam system engineering and creates solutions which set the benchmark for steam-using organisations worldwide.
From designing, installing and commissioning new facilities, optimising and upgrading existing steam systems, to maintaining plant performance through scheduled maintenance, it offers companies expertise, resources, products and services to help them achieve profitable growth.
Renishaw is one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies, with expertise in precision measurement and healthcare.
The company supplies products and services used in applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to 3D printing, dentistry and brain surgery.
The Renishaw Group currently has more than 70 offices in 35 countries, with over 4,000 employees, of which 2,800 people are employed within the UK. Its headquarters are in Wotton-under-Edge.
In May 2011, three Safran subsidiaries Messier-Bugatti, Messier-Dowty and Messier Services merged to form Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, in Gloucester, creating a world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems.
The company’s capabilities encompass the full life cycle of its products, ranging from design and manufacture to in-service support, repair and overhaul. It combines advanced engineering, proven expertise in systems integration and unrivalled capabilities in its markets to deliver innovative landing solutions to 30 leading commercial, military, business and regional airframers.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which has a research and development site in Abingdon, creates new possibilities in medicine to cure diseases and improve people’s lives. It works with leading researchers, doctors, public health experts and other collaborators who share its vision for transforming the lives of people with serious diseases.
Last year, its second cystic fibrosis medicine was awarded Drug Discovery of the Year by the British Pharmacological Society.
Horizon Nuclear Power, whose head office is in Gloucester, is an energy company developing a new generation of nuclear power stations.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd it plans to provide at least 5,400MW of new power station capacity to the UK, enough to power around 10 million homes. Its projects will create up to 850 permanent jobs.
OT (Oberthur Technologies), in Tewkesbury, is a leading global provider of embedded security software products and services.
It has recently announced a partnership with Hoomano, a pioneer in social robotics, focused on real-world interaction robotic software, to deploy new services in a secure environment for the Internet-of-Things and the Robotics space.
Since 1968 Moog has been established in the UK providing local expertise and advanced facilities from the supply and service of Moog servo valves to designing aerospace systems.
Moog, which has a site in Tewkesbury, plays a key role in sales, design, manufacture, development and implementation of a wide variety of products, solutions, repair and services such as complete primary and secondary flight control and actuation systems for all types of aircraft, rotor monitoring and test systems for wind turbines blades and ground-based air navigation systems for military, naval and civil aviation.
Yamazaki Mazak, which has a manufacturing plant in Worcester, was established in 1919 and has been contributing to the development of the machine tool industry as a leading global company.
Yamazaki Mazak manufactures not only advanced machine tools such as multi-tasking centers, CNC turning centers, machining centers and laser processing machines, but also automation systems with the concept of ‘done in one’ to support global manufacturing by providing exceptional productivity and versatility.
Adlens was founded in 2005 to address the unmet need for corrective vision in the developing world and to develop commercial applications of variable focus lens technology.
Over the past 10 years, Adlens has grown from an extraordinary philanthropic initiative into a global enterprise leading the development and sale of adjustable focus eyewear. Its headquarters and state-of-the-art research facility are based in Oxford and it also has offices in Tokyo and Boston.