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British Industrial History

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Manufacturer of Electric, Pneumatic & Hydraulic Valve Actuators and associated Control Systems, Valve Gearboxes and Valve Accessories and Precision Control Instruments, of Kingswood, Bristol

1945 Rotork was a small engineering company

1949 acquired by Frenchay Products, a business established by the brothers David and Jeremy Fry [1] .

1951 Rotork Engineering Co was spun out by Jeremy Fry[2] to exploit his invention of the electric valve actuator for pipelines

1957 the Rotork Engineering Company was moved to Widcombe Manor, Bath.

By 1959, annual actuator production was approaching 600 units, more than double the previous year

The first Rotork factory and production line was established in an old Bath mill building.

1962 Decision made to build a purpose designed production plant at Brassmill Lane, which remains the company’s international headquarters.

1968 Rotork was introduced to the London Stock Exchange and the company name was changed to Rotork Controls Ltd.

1972 The quoted company was Rotork; Rotork Controls was a subsidiary of Rotork when it acquired the Cybac Actuator division of Lucas[3]

1974 production was at a record level with over 13,000 units built. Rotork was employing over 450 staff in the UK and 80 overseas, creating an annual actuator sales value of £5million.

Continued to expand and innovate throughout the 1970s.

1977 A manufacturing joint venture in India was signed

1979 Rotork company opened in Germany.

1984 By the time Jeremy Fry retired, Rotork was the leading valve actuation company in the world, with subsidiaries in nine countries.

An instrumentation company was purchased in 1985 to hasten the development of Pakscan, a digital bus control system that has since become the industry-standard for this type of system in many markets.

1995 a dedicated Fluid Power Division was set up, operating from the UK, USA and Singapore.

1999 a step change in fluid power actuator business was heralded by the acquisition of Fluid System Srl, situated in the heart of the Italian valvemaking industry at Lucca. Fluid System’s product range included subsea and other specialised derivatives. Lucca became the main manufacturing plant for fluid power actuators and the range began a successive programme of review, rationalisation and development to create an unrivalled product offering.

Further investment in the Rotork Gears Division began in 1993 with the completion of the purchase of Exeeco, a gearbox company that had been part owned since 1987. A leading valve accessory company, Valvekits, was also purchased

1998 a company making small gearboxes in Holland called Alecto was added to the division.

2003 the Fluid Systems factory in Lucca moved to new premises, four times larger than the old ones.

2004 Purchase of Deanquip Valve Automation in Australia and PC-Intertechnik in Germany, the latter providing greater access to the important oil and gas markets of East Europe and Russia.

2008, Swedish manufacturer Remote Control was acquired and SVM (Smart Valve Monitoring) technology was added to the product range.

2009 the USA company Flow-Quip was acquired, increasing Rotork Fluid Systems' product offering in existing and new markets.

2010 the acquisition of Ralph A. Hiller completed Rotork's power industry product range.

Early 2010 opening of a brand new manufacturing plant and service support centre for all Rotork products at Jigani in Bangalore, India. At the same time the existing factory at Chennai was also expanded and was chosen as the site for an exciting new facility called RIDEC, the Rotork Innovation and Design Engineering Centre. RIDEC was custom-built to provide the Rotork Group with a dedicated centre for research and development work serving all of Rotork's products and global activity. The year ended with the launch of a wireless version of the successful Pakscan digital control system, keeping this product in the forefront of valve control technology.

2011 attention was focused on the policy of expansion through acquisition, beginning with Rotork Servo Controles de Mexico S.A. de C.V. This company was Rotork's part-owned sales and service agent in the important Mexican market since the 1970s. Full ownership signals Rotork's recognition of significant opportunities for growth in the region and intention to invest in the organisation's sales and extensive service capabilities. The same can be said for the purchase shortly afterwards of Valco Valves and Automation AS, Rotork's long term sales and service agent in Norway, now renamed Rotork Norge.

Also acquired in 2011 K-Tork International Inc., a well established manufacturer of pneumatic vane-type actuators and damper drive systems, based in Dallas, USA. K-Tork's products provide a significant addition to the existing product ranges in the Rotork Fluid Systems Division and reinforce Rotork's presence in the water, industrial and power sectors.

At the same time as K-Tork, Centork Valve Control S.L., a Spanish actuator manufacturer based near San Sebastion, was also added to the Rotork Group. Centork manufactures a high efficiency, compact and modular electric actuator range, broadening Rotork's scope of supply in existing and new market areas.

2011 Acquired the Fairchild Industrial Products Company - manufactures of regulators, boosters, relays and transducers used in applications requiring precision control of pneumatic devices and motion control equipment. Based in North Carolina, USA, Fairchild is the first company to be installed in the Rotork Instruments division, a new division formed in line with Rotork's strategy of increasing and strengthening its presence in global flow control markets.

In the UK, Prokits was purchased and merged into Rotork Valvekits. As a well known designer and manufacturer of valve adaptor kits and valve accessories

2015 Rotork Plc. Revenue £547m. Divisions are Rotork Controls, Rotork Fluid Systems, Rotork Gears, and Rotork Instruments. Employs 3,759 persons worldwide. [4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, July 26, 2005
  2. Exeter Express and Echo 11 July 21011
  3. The Times Jun 08, 1972
  4. 2015 Annual Report