The 1987 Queen’s Awards for Export and for Technological Achievement are published this morning, and as we have come to expect, companies involved in the production and application of computer and microelectronics technology feature prominently – indeed the number and diversity is exceptional this year. On the Technological front, A B Automotive Products Ltd of Cardiff will gets the right to fly the coveted pennant for its development of a microprocessor-based light current switching system for automotive application – which has been hailed as the most innovative feature of the Jaguar XJ40 car. BICC Data Networks Ltd is recognised for its Isolan series of hardware and software for connecting computers to local area networks – the first fully to adhere to the international interconnection standards. Bonas Machine Co of Sunderland wins the Award for its electronic jacquard and computer-aided patterning system for the textile weaving industry. Dynapert Precima of Colchester is honoured for its MPS500 programmable microplacement system for surface mounting of electronic components. Exploration Consultants Ltd of Henley has in four years won 50% of the world market with its Eclipse computer-based simulator of oil and gas reservoirs. Ferranti Computer Systems’ Printed Circuit Group, Bracknell wins the Award for development of metal-cored multi-layer printed wiring boards for leadless surface-mounted ceramic components. While knighthoods for foreigners do not carry the title Sir, there is no discrimination in the Queen’s Awards against local companies that are not British-owned, and so the Lundis Lund Division of Litton UK Ltd is entitled to add the Award symbol to its letter-head in recognition of its development of a computer numerically-controlled lobe grinding machine for automotive camshafts that can be incorporated into flexible manufacturing systems. Racal Marine Radar makes the list by virtue of its digital scan converter for radar colour displays so that data from a conventional scanner can be displayed in high resolution colour TV form. Sister company Racal Recorders wins the Award for its Storehorse data tape recorder. The Optical Devices Division of STC Defence Systems wins the award for a 1,300mm laser that enables fibre-optic communications at 565Mbps, four times the previous frequency, to operate at over 20 miles between repeaters, twice the previous range. Singer Link-Miles Ltd wins the Award for that ingenious Functionally Distributed Simulation system that applies the concept of autonomous distributed microprocessors to the problem that however powerful the real-time supermini you use in your aircraft simulator, there never seems to be quite as much power as you’d like. And Tech-Nel Data Products of Banbury wins the Award for its Network Management Engine, which provides fault-tolerant computer communications. The remarkable and splendid list of achievements taken together suggests technological ingenuity in the UK is not quite as dead as some would have us believe.Turning to the list of Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement, Domino Printing Sciences has an Export Award to add to the Technology Award it won in 1985. The Award is to the Domino Amjet arm in Cambridge, for its ink-jet printers, more than two third of which are now exported. GEC, which also has several technological Awards that fall outside our field this year, wins an Export Award for computer-driven electronic display systems for aircraft sold around the world by GEC Avionics. Welcome a Canadian to the list: Gandalf Digital Communications Ltd has been exporting data communications equipment like mad from its UK base in Warrington. IAD (UK) Ltd is one of those service companies that our future will increasingly depend upon, and the services it offers to clients from the Far East to Scandinavia include computer-aided design and styling for the automotive and aircraft industries. The sterling work being done at IBM UK’s factories up at Greenock, down at Havant, has not gone unnoticed, and it wins an Export Award for the second year running. The
Link Analytical Ltd subsidiary of VEI Plc exports its computer-based X-ray material analysers as far afield as the Soviet Union, Japan and China. Lydiastar Ltd is another service company: subsidiary of DHL UK, it delivers messages for customers around the world via international telex, electronic mail and facsimile. The Marconi Instruments arm of GEC wins its fourth Qween’s Award for its computer-aided engineering systems and test equipment. Monotype Corp Plc exports a high proportion of its computer-based photocomposition systems. The Page Aerospace subsidiary has won manufacturing orders for electronic equipment from planemakers in the US, Sweden, Italy, West Germany and Brazil. Pilkington Communication Systems has something more to celebrate besides keeping its independence – an Award for export of fibre-optic data communications systems. Congratulations to all Award winners: the list lays down a fine challenge for the first day back after the Easter holidays.