Rapid expansion means new premises

A second office move is on the cards for torque measuring innovators Sensor Technology, reflecting the rapid growth since it last relocated five and a half years ago. The company will move its manufacturing, sales and marketing and administration in June to Apollo Park, Banbury, three miles from its head office and research and development facility.

The head office is a converted water mill deep in the Cotswolds and provided a home for the whole company from its founding in 1976 until 2004, when the commercial functions moved 10 miles to Heyford Park near Bicester.

Apollo Park, Wroxton“The Mill was great for our start up period when we were developing TorqSense, our contactless torque sensor,” says Marketing Manager Tony Ingham. “The fact that it was off the beaten track helped us concentrate on the task in hand. But once our sales started to grow, we needed somewhere with better access and communications links. Heyford is just off the M40 motorway, which was great, and we were next door to a sister company.”

However growth of TorqSense sales, particularly on the overseas front, has encouraged the directors to reassess. Extending the existing building was considered, but options were limited and the effects of disruption to the businesses were difficult to calculate.

“We started to look around, and discovered a brilliant recently completed new development closer to our head office.”

Apollo Park is a total redevelopment at one of the disused ironstone quarries that provided Banbury with its original economic base. Most of these haven’t been worked for 30 years or more, and now the local planners want to see them productive in new ways.

Sensor Technology’s new neighbours will include the Bentley Owners Club, the first company to sign up for Apollo Park. As such the new facility will be purpose built and matched to specific needs.

“We’ve been keen to get a design that blends in with the local countryside and to incorporate various environmental technologies to keep energy consumption and carbon emissions low,” says Tony. “We are not so far from the new ring road, which connects to the motorway in minutes.”

The company is about to launch several new versions of TorqSense, each addressing a specific market niche or technical need, and redesign its strain gauge transducer range. Thus considerably more space had been allocated to manufacturing, calibration, test, packaging and dispatch than was available at Heyford. Open plan offices will ensure efficient communications between the various departments. A dedicated conference suite will make meetings more comfortable.

“Once we move, we should be able to walk between our two buildings quicker than we could previously drive,” reckons Tony. “But with business spreading across the globe, I don’t suppose we’ll ever be able to afford the time!”