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The Year of Lontra
Looking back on the year it’s more than safe to say that Lontra has surpassed itself on company achievements, and since it’s December we reflect on moments within the year that highlight the rise of the business in 2017.
Lontra started the year with a case study for Innovate UK explaining how our radical approach to air compression can save millions of pounds for the water industry. This alone accounts for over 1% of the UK’s total energy usage. Our case study has heavily featured in many press articles throughout the year, continuing to show the impressive efficiency of our products. After our successful installations of the Blade Compressor in water treatment facilities throughout the UK, it is still relevant to push this idea further abroad, to countries where water treatment is vital to growing cities in climates different to our own. Furthermore our case study shows how this can be possible and will continue to circulate the press.
Continuing on this theme, Lontra won two significant grants. The Innovate UK energy catalyst grant for compressor development for the power-gen market. Also an EU Horizon 2020 grant to launch our technology into the huge food and drink and pharmaceutical markets. These features have attracted national press as well as attracting new trade journals and magazines. An example of the trade press interest in our technology is a case study for Micro Epsilon. Our Senior Development Engineer, Carl Godden, writes about the thermal imaging cameras we use for the Blade Compressor development.
We’ve also made every effort to share our experiences, hopefully to help other high growth UK companies. In light of this, Lontra is an advocate of patents and understands the importance of this when developing new ideas and manufacturing goods in the UK:
“You can’t get away from patents. We have seven families of patents and we continue to submit them on a regular basis. Without them we could not have got our investors on board,” says Steve Lindsey, CEO of Lontra.
When the Industrial Strategy was announced Lontra welcomed it, noting the great emphasis on committing to a low-carbon economy. We understand this is not the only route for affordable energy and cost-saving, but also an opportunity to sell world-leading, energy-efficient innovations and products overseas.
This year we are so proud of the contributions of key team members that rightly deserved nomination for their many accomplishments. Kiran Tailor, Project Manager, winning the Manufacturer’s 2017 Top 100 award and Jake Wallis, Principal Design Engineer, winning Design Engineer of the Year at the British Engineering Excellence awards 2017. We also have team members that are active STEM ambassadors, a scheme close to our hearts and aimed at inspiring young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Their attendance at key STEM events within the year led us to set up a work experience week at our Technology Centre.
Lontra organized for a local student to come in for a week and spend each day with a different member of the team. It was such a positive experience for him that it swayed his career choice,
“Before insight into engineering I was certain on computing. Now I have a difficult choice!”
We are glad to have made such an impact and will continue to offer opportunities for work experience every year.
To top off our great team accolades we’re Innovation 50’s Company of the Year with the comment, ‘Very impressive, with a global impact’.
Our CEO Steve Lindsey has topped awards lists this year. Not only for the technological advances of our products, but also his push for UK manufacturing and innovation. A finalist in the European Patent Office’s award for European Inventor of the Year. The only finalist from the UK and one of just fifteen chosen from around 600,000 active patents filed across Europe.
Steve was also named “Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year” at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Industry experts whittled down over a thousand entries, into 55 finalists. Steve commented:
“It’s great to win Natwest Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year. This accolade is further evidence of the groundbreaking work that our team are achieving here at Lontra and to win this prestigious award in the face of such stiff competition is an honour.”
The year and beyond
Awards and Press aside, we are most proud of the immense effort of our team. The support they give to developing Lontra’s products is inspiring. As well as engaging with all our suppliers and attending multiple exhibitions within the year.
Lontra is proving itself in all areas, extending its smart and savvy view of an engineering business to the wider world. When it comes to development and innovation our company policy of ‘How hard can it be?’ remains strong. Though we are proud, we are not yet satisfied, and going forward into the next year we are certain to make it The Year of Lontra once again.