ENTERPRISE CONTROL SYSTEMS – EXPANDING TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
By Julian Nettlefold
It is always a bonus to come across a hidden nugget in BATTLESPACE’s coverage of advanced technology companies. It is also a bigger bonus to find one that was born and bred in the United Kingdom and is exporting 80% of its products. This is just what we found when the Editor was asked to the Official Opening of the latest phase of Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) building complex by local MP Andrea Leadson on Friday October 6th.
The editor was able to meet with the whole ECS team including recently appointed Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Peter Gilchrist who commented that the outstanding capabilities of ECS, hidden away in Northamptonshire, delivering critical operational capability both in the UK and overseas is what had made him want to be a part of this growing, highly successful enterprise that exemplified the excellence of UK SMEs in the defence and security sector.
Managing Director, Aaron Maculiffe, who joined the team early this year from a extensive background in the defence sector encompassing wide experience in the avionics and surveillance systems was delighted to be able to give an insight into this unique business.
Colin Bullock, CEO of ECS founded the Company after he left Plessey in 1987 in a back room of his home in Wappenham. In 1993 the Company demonstrated its first video downlink for the South African Police Force, later it developed ship-to-shore video for the Coastguard. In 1994 it moved to 31 High Street in Wappenham and started developing bomb disposal robots in 1995.
In the late 1990s, at its headquarters in Northamptonshire, ECS first designed digital COFDM Microwave links. It had a world first in 2001 with the development of a COFDM Digital Microwave system link for the Royal Dutch Police. Moving forward, ECS opened its own Technology Park in 2007 to operate alongside its existing engineering and production departments, including a state of the art EMC Chamber for rigorous testing of all its products, enabling expansion of its entire operation and with space to accommodate a vehicle up to 35 tonnes. The Company won the 2007 Queen’s Award for Innovation in Technology.
The ECS Headquarters has been expanded over the years and the latest additions were officially opened on Friday October 6th in a 23000sq.ft. addition. These latest new facilities bring together all of the business development, programme management and finance functions with the main engineering and manufacturing facilities. Additional facilities for customer specific programmes, vehicle installations and testing are also included.“Given the nature of our products, business and customers we like owning our own premises in a quiet rural area, somewhat off the beaten track. When we needed more space, I just bought another farm and turned it into what you see today. We have our own power supply which prevents any spiking which can destroy expensive test equipment and a sophisticated computer network that gives our engineering and production staff access to the specialist capabilities needed to design, develop, manufacture and support our range of sophisticated surveillance and RF denial products and systems. Systems can be designed and tested using high definition video streams operating throughout the building.” Colin Bullock said.
The key products produced by ECS are high performance encrypted data links for voice, video and data transmission, and also a range of RF jammers.
“We pride ourselves on developing the most capable advanced COFDM datalink systems, the latest of which, Evenlode, a lightweight bi-directional network repeater gives two HD full motion video streams combined with an IP data channel to provide an innovative solution for any information exchange requirement.” Colin Bullock told the Editor.
“Evenlode has been selected by Indra as a key enabling technology in for the new Maritime Surveillance airc