We are anchored in UK innovation
LEMO has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in the United Kingdom.
Launched as a modest sales office, the British subsidiary has since contributed to many iconic solutions and never stopped evolving, cementing its position as a market leader in the UK. Peter Dent, its managing director for almost a decade, answers our questions.
How’s life in Worthing, where LEMO opened its first office in 1973 ?
Peter Dent : That simple office is long gone. We are already in our fourth building, a purpose-built 4,000-m2 plant inaugurated in 2010. We have been continuously developing our local services and, more importantly, our capabilities to complement the group’s core connector range, especially in cable assembly. Over the years, we have expanded our local manufacturing services, including the addition of more automation and new processes, such as overmoulding, which had typically been outsourced in the past. To ensure the highest quality, we have adopted a vertical integration approach to local manufacturing, mirroring the long-standing practice of the LEMO group from its early days.
Your R&D has been involved in solutions which have become a benchmark in Formula One (F Series, M Series) and HDTV broadcast(3K.93C Series). Does it still play a central role ?
Indeed, it holds a central role, not only resulting in innovative solutions, but also significantly influencing the way we support our customers. In recent years, our sales team has developed comprehensive expertise in various aspects, including products, markets, limitations, and requirements. This knowledge empowers them to serve as consultants rather than mere product suppliers. Our key customers see us as integral to their R&D, actively involved with their projects from The early stages. They entrust us with the development of their solutions, ensuring optimisation from the initial design phase to the final product. As a result, we are deeply intertwined with their innovation.
What common applications do you serve in this capacity ?
The foremost ones that come in mind are defense and security, which have gained prominence in the current international context. We are partners with several companies developing high-end communication, monitoring, and surveillance equipment. These technologies are advancing rapidly, and, thanks to our expertise, we can assist these companies in anticipating demands for higher frequency, enhanced mobility, wireless solutions, smaller and lighter devices, cables with minimal loss and noise, and more.
Medical applications have also been the focus of attention……
…and they also serve as a good example, since they require special expertise which we can provide in the face of the increasingly stringent and costly qualification and approval processes. Many of our customers do not have this competence in-house, so we become their advisors. In addition to developing complete and medically approved solutions in collaboration with them (our cable assembly solutions are ISO 13485 certified), we serve as partners from inception to completion, minimizing the time and cost involved in that process. LEMO is now one of the leading companies able to provide high-end, full-service solutions.
What about test & measurement applications, where LEMO has a strong track record ?
UK companies are at the forefront of non-destructive test equipment, and we are one of the leading companies supporting that market space. There is a rapidly growing demand for robust and reliable complete solutions for applications in remote locations. LEMO’s historical leadership in harsh environments and our enhanced capabilities in high-quality cable assembly are a perfect match for this demand.
What about the evolution of the broadcast industry ?
What we’ve seen in the broadcast market is the continual evolution of live events. So, we need to be able to develop solutions that are both custom and very quickly available – which is a challenge. We manage to create, thanks to the modular design of LEMO solutions, something which is tailored to the specific application, but uses standard components and materials within it. We have also expanded our reach within this industry, from the historical broad-cast base to become stronger in the film and stage industry, as technology is adopted for applications like special effects. (Discover in CONNECTED 19 how LEMO contributes to the London show of The Lion King).
Your examples have shown that you focus on niche markets…
Indeed. A large percentage of UK manufacturing base is not involved in mass production, it’s excellence shines in niche markets. There’s a multitude of small and medium-sized companies that have risen to become global leaders in highly specialised applications. I could also mention Hi-Fi : many UK companies are renowned in the field. They strive to push the boundaries of what is achievable, and thus, they are receptive to LEMO’s pursuit of excellence. This is how we often find ourselves supplying many Hi-Fi companies.
Such positioning aligns perfectly with LEMO and even the “ Swiss Made ” label…
The LEMO brand is ever-present in the UK high-end world where it has an excellent reputation. It has always been the case, but we have tried to further strengthen it by attending five or six specialized shows every year. The idea has been the same : to remain as close as possible to local expertise in assisting them in entering the same high-performance segment in which we operate. We accompany their development, and, in return, these customers also influence our progress. It is for their benefit that we continuously upgrade our production capacities, expertise, and service approach.