Improved range helps bionics firm touch £10m in 2012 sales

THE launch of high tech artificial limbs helped Touch Bionics grow revenues by 17 per cent last year, passing the £10 million sales mark for the first time.

THE launch of high tech artificial limbs helped Touch Bionics grow revenues by 17 per cent last year, passing the £10 million sales mark for the first time.

The Livingston-based company, which was spun out of NHS Scotland in 2003, said its growth was driven by the an expansion of its product lines.

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The preliminary results published yesterday did not provide precise details, but the company expects to have broken even in 2012 and should become profitable at a pre-tax level this year.

Chief executive Ian Stevens said the firm continues to expand its range and production capacity.

He said: “We are pleased with our performance in 2012 and are looking forward to continuing our growth in 2013, when we plan to announce further exciting product developments.”

Touch Bionics was the first company to develop an electronic prosthetic hand with five independently-powered fingers and hundreds of people have been fitted with the technology, which was launched in 2009.

The company launched its flagship “i-limb ultra” prosthetic hand in 2011 and followed it up last year with an upgraded version for people with missing fingers.

The latest innovation was expected to be of interest to an estimated 1.2 million amputees around the world who have lost one or more of their fingers.

Additions to the “i-limb digits” line included shorter, lighter fingers aimed at providing enhanced performance and a wrist-band unit to control the prosthetic.

The firm’s operations are shared between Scotland and the US, and it opened a production facility in Newburgh in the state of New York this week.

The new offices are now the primary location for the production of “livingskin”, the company’s range of highly realistic silicone prostheses.

It said the 4,000sq ft open plan facility creates “an environment that enhances manufacturing flow and provides increased production flexibility”. The new centre will support and expand on Touch Bionics’ existing livingskin operations in Newburgh, more than doubling the size of the company’s workspace in the town and taking its global headcount to around 100.

Stevens said: “As global 
demand for our livingskin prostheses has been increasing, we needed to ensure that our production capacity is able to scale to meet that demand.

“This new facility will increase our production capacity significantly, while also ensuring that we retain our existing team of livingskin experts in Newburgh.”

He added that the group is also in the process of expanding its training capabilities, and was “ideally positioned to reach new levels in the year ahead”.

Touch bionics is funded and supported by investment group Archangel and Scottish Enterprise.