SPECIALIST touchscreen company Zytronic is developing “interesting and substantial” products for some of its major customers, which it believes will form the bedrock of future growth.
The business, which manufactures all its products at its three factories in Blaydon, Gateshead, makes sensors used in equipment such as cashpoints and vending machines.
It reported flat revenues of £20.4m for the year to the end of September, but its pre-tax profits rose by 18% to £4.2m.
Sales in the UK, US and Asia increased by 10%, although there was an 8% decline in sales to Europe.
Chief executive Mark Cambridge said: “We’ve brought through an improvement in gross profits margins and an 18% improvement in profits.
“All of this has been done because of changes happening in the business. There has been a 0.3% dip in sales, but the mix and the size of the product has changed.
“Seventy-one percent of our turnover is now touch revenues.”
Zytronic has been moving away from the non-touch side of the business, such as the manufacture of ballistic visors, over the last few years.
Mr Cambridge said: “The strategy is to get there as efficiently and effectively as we can, but it won’t be for two to three years.
“The non-touch element will continue to decline.”
The business has been developing its multi-touch, multi-user, mutual projected capacitive technology MPCT touch products and showing them off to potential new customers at international technology exhibitions.
Mr Cambridge said: “During the year, we’ve developed a new version of our touch products for gaming, digital signage and interactive tables which are used in education, cafes and boardrooms. They allow multiple people to interact at once.
“We see ourselves as an enabler that’s allowing markets to grow. It’s been a continuation of what we’ve been doing. There has been a lot of development work with the customers as well as the products. There is obviously a lot of future potential.”
Zytronic employs 190 people in the North East and group finance director Denis Mullan said the company was not interested in moving manufacture abroad.
He said: “People used to move manufacturing to China because it was cheaper.
“But we took a lot of labour out of the process and we stayed here to protect our IP (intellectual property).
“We have just filed seven patents for our new touch technology. If you move to somewhere like China, the IP is not as safe as somewhere like Blaydon.”
We’ve developed a new version of our touch products for gaming, digital signage and interactive tables