The Research and Development department of Sensor Technology Ltd is to relocate from its home of nearly 40 years, a converted water mill, to the purpose-built Apollo Park, which is already home to its manufacturing and sales departments.
Sensor Technology produces torque sensors for measuring the power being transmitted by rotating shafts and specialist load sensors typically for use with underslung cargo carried by helicopters. The unusual thing about both of these is that they transmit their readings wirelessly.
Sales Manager Mark Ingham explains: “We actually produce a wide variety of torque sensors, but are best known for TorqSense, our wireless range. We developed this to do away with the fiddly and delicate slip rings that most sensors require to work with rotating shafts.”
“More recently we have been using the same wireless communications with helicopter load sensors. The key advantage here is that because there is no need to drill holes in the airframe to run wires, there is no requirement to get the airworthiness recertified. The cost savings are monumental, and we are also finding that the technology transfers to many other fields too.”
Sensor Technology originally moved into the water mill, just outside Banbury because it was large enough to allow expansion. Soon the building was fully occupied and temporary buildings were set up in the grounds as growth continued. Then 10 years ago the sales and manufacturing departments moved out of Banbury, but after five years it was necessary for the sales department to relocate again. At this time Apollo Park was being planned, and as it was only three miles (5km) from the water mill, it was a natural choice.
“Growth has continued,” says Mark, “and the company is evolving in such a way that it makes sense to have sales, manufacturing and R&D all within walking distance of one another.”
“We have always been at the cutting edge of technology, a position we want to maintain even after 40 years. The best way to ensure this is to let the managers and engineers interact naturally during their working day – sometimes a water cooler meeting or a passing word in the corridor is the most effective form of communications!”
“NASA’s Apollo program fundamentally changed science and technology a generation ago. By contrast our Apollo journey is a very small step for mankind, but we feel like we are reaching for the stars.”