Laser-maker at cutting edge of Japanese lab

LASERS manufacturer Edinburgh Instruments (EI) has secured a contract with Japan’s largest technology institute, in a move helping propel it towards a £7.5 million annual turnover target months ahead of schedule.

EI is supplying Tokyo’s flagship Institute of Technology’s research laboratories, through its photonics division, with its PL5 series of gas lasers that have applications, in particular, for homeland security and radar modelling.

Tokyo Tech, as it is known, operates the world-class supercomputer Tsubame 2.0, used to simulate complex systems such as the planets and the financial sector. It has more than 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students on its books.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The size of the Japanese deal has not been disclosed, but the Livingston-based firm’s chief executive Alan Faichney says it is one of a series of revenue-boosting new deals.

EI is close to achieving an increase in turnover from £6.2m to £7.5m by next March. Half-yearly results to the end of September show a 10 per cent boost to the previous year’s turnover.

Contracts have recently been won from the emerging “Bric” nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China, along with Turkey. They complement existing deals involving North American and European clients.

EI was established in 1971 as Heriot-Watt university research park’s first private spin-out and produces a wide range of high-performance lasers and other products.

Majority control remains with its original owners, although Japanese company Hamamatsu Photonics KK became a significant investor and collaborator in 1995 with a 25 per cent holding.

EI is interviewing candidates for a new chairman to replace the firm’s founder, the renowned physicist, Professor Desmond Smith, who is stepping down but retaining the title of chief scientific officer at the age of 80.

A recruitment drive continues, with the firm’s currently employing 69 staff, an increase of 14 in past year.