LOCAL company Integrated Display Systems has recently augmented their collection of Queen's Awards by claiming the coveted Queens Award for International Trade.
The award is in recognition of the company’s substantial growth and success in international commerce with their handbrake setting and belt tensioning equipment which is supplied to automotive manufacturing giants across four continents.
This is the fourth Queen’s Award for the small Wallsend-based firm, having previously gained awards for Innovation in 1997, 2004 and 2010.
Managing director Dr Trish Smith oversaw the expansion of the company’s customer base into automotive assembly plants in Europe, South America, North America and Asia with recent installations of their highly developed CLAVIS system.
She said: “The Queen’s Award is held in high esteem in overseas countries and can only help in our efforts to expand our export markets.”
The company has seen greatest growth in its range of handbrake setting systems which it manufactures and installs in car production plants such as Ford and BMW worldwide.
Until the advent of their CLAVIS system, your shiny new car had its handbrake set by a process approaching trial and error.
This led to a high degree of variation in handbrake feel and possible early brake wear.
Historically, car manufacturers report the handbrake as being responsible for one of the highest warranty claim rates associated with new car sales.
The CLAVIS system allows the handbrake to be set to the manufacturer’s specification with unprecedented levels of accuracy – resulting in happy car owners and even happier car manufacturers.
The 2010 Queen’s Award for Innovation was in recognition of equipment used in the manufacture of electric power assisted steering units.
The automotive industry has been switching from conventional power assisted steering towards electric power assisted steering (EPAS), improving engine efficiency and increasing miles per gallon by 4% to 8%, bringing potential benefits to the environment in a reduced carbon footprint.
The CLAVIS technology is used to accurately tension belts in these systems, leading to enhanced durability and reduced threat of belt failure, which could result in a serious car accident.
Sophisticated designs are taken from concept to installation by a highly skilled and motivated workforce.
The team take great pride in manufacturing around 95% of the products in-house utilising modern CNC machining facilities combined with the expertise and craft of long serving engineers.
Integrated Display Systems also take pleasure in supporting the development of the local economy by sourcing the majority of their materials from local suppliers and recruiting from the surrounding area, recently taking on graduates in product design, computer science and electronic engineering.
Referring to the signatures of the previous Prime Ministers, Major, Blair and Brown that appear on the Queen’s Award certificates displayed in their offices, Susan Air, export sales manager, said: “We are going for the full set of Prime Ministers.
“Mr Cameron’s signature will appear on the latest certificate.”
Technical director Dr Barry Hutchinson commented: “I still find it hard to believe that high technology equipment which finds its way to the far corners of the globe is produced in a small factory in Wallsend.”
Mark Errington, senior installation engineer in charge of the overseas installation team, said: “The entire workforce should be proud of themselves as they have all contributed to winning this award.
“Over the last few years our export sales have increased dramatically. As a small company this has been very challenging, but together we have worked extremely well to make sure we succeed in meeting the demands of our customers.”
The International Trade Award was presented in recognition of the fact that the company exports 96% of its turnover, which has increased by 271% in recent years. Most exports are to the newly emerging markets known as the ‘BRIC’ countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.