FT Technologies was founded in 1981 by Peter Elgar and Derek Cavendish-Pell. The business originally concentrated on defence based research projects. In 1988, Dr Savvas Kapartis and Dr Stephen Norton joined the company. In the early 1990s there was a military requirement for a wind sensor for ballistic meteorology with no moving parts. It had to be rugged enough to operate reliably on battlefield equipment.
All the mechanical and ultrasonic technologies available had weaknesses. Dr Savvas Kapartis and his small team developed the concept of combining Acoustic Resonance with ultrasonics and the measurement of phase shift. This now forms the basis of the Acu-Res® technology that powers all FT sensors.
The technology was patented and the first product, the FT702, went into production in 2000; this had a stainless steel body combined with other features that suited many military uses. These products were sold to a wide range of wind sensing applications but it gradually became clear that the product’s robustness made it ideal for the developing wind turbine industry. The first sales were made to European manufacturers in 2002. In 2003 this innovative technology was a finalist for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award. The business developed rapidly. The LM product range for integration on OEM equipment was developed in 2003 and rapidly found favour in defence and civil defence as well as a wide range of civilian applications.
In 2008, the first sales were made to China, where the business has grown rapidly. A new factory was opened in 2009 in Teddington to accommodate growing demand and to incorporate robotics into the manufacturing process. Since then production capacity has more than doubled. Advances in manufacturing continue and include the development of a fully automated, robotised wind tunnel and assembly and automated test equipment (ATE).
The FT702LT series products have been through an extensive development cycle from Version 7 up to the Version 22 which was launched in 2011. In 2016 we launched our newest models in the form of the FT7 Series. Whilst continuing to produce the FT702, we now offer the FT742 with improved accuracy and reading wind speeds up to 75m/s and the FT722 which reads up to 50m/s with a similarly enhanced accuracy.
In 2017 FT Technologies moved to a brand new factory and established a new head office in Sunbury-on-Thames, southwest London. The new building, Sunbury House, is four times the size of our old site in Teddington, and has been carefully selected to be suitable not just for present needs, but for the next ten years. It will allow us to grow as a company and invest in new processes, state of the art technology and all the necessary equipment to keep producing innovative products for the wind energy and meteorological industries.
With more space for production, research and development we will be able to increase the volume of wind sensors that we produce, as well as deliver improved quality and shorter lead times.
Sunbury House features:
- Office space for 135 staff
- ESD protected, temperature and humidity controlled production facilities
- Separate automated production area for robotics
- A dedicated cleaning room with independent extraction
- Greatly enlarged R/D laboratory
- Robotic and automated production laboratory
We will also be adding:
- Two temperature controlled closed loop calibration-grade wind tunnels with a maximum air speed of 220mph, equipped with robotic loaders supplied from conveyor belts.
- Two process rooms with independent temperature and humidity control, equipped with robots supplied from conveyor belts.
- Automated assembly and inspection equipment, automated industrial computed tomography (CT) scanners.
- Environmental laboratory with temperature, humidity, altitude chambers, a HALT chamber, corrosion and UV chambers, electrodynamic shaker, rain simulator.