One of the few innovations of premier Harold Wilson’s white heat of the technological revolution to have endured into the 1980s are the Queen’s Awards to Industry. Initially only for Exports, they were soon expanded to embrace Technological Achievement and endure in that form to today. The Awards, announced this morning, confer the right to fly the pennant and use the motif on stationery for five years, and today’s list once again confirms that the UK remains a remarkable hive of innovation, and as ever, companies in the computer industry loom large in the list. On the Technological front, big names include both ICL and IBM UK: ICL gets the award for what has now proven to be a highly successful product, the Series 39 mainframe, while IBM gets it for development of the 9335 high density disk drive sub-system, used with its mid-range systems worldwide. GEC never fails to make the list somewhere or other, and its Rochester-based Instrument Systems Division is honoured for the development of its flight management Standard Central Air Data computers or SCADCs. Itek Colour Graphic Ltd of Cheltenham wins the award for its electronic colour separation scanner, which has acheived some 80% of the North American scanner market, and is the first to permit direct scanning of colour negatives. The ever ingenious Newbury-based Quantel Ltd, part of the UEI group, makes the list by virtue of Harry, its digital video recording, editing, processing and compositing system, which enables the user, via an electronic pen and touch tablet, to process a variety of raw images. Sigmex Ltd, of Horsham, West Sussex, wins the award for its 6000 series of computer graphic terminals and generators which are based on the ISO graphical kernel systems standard 7942 – and also shows up in the other half of the list – as does Camberley-based Technophone Ltd, which picks up both Technology and Export awards for the development of its Pocketphone, which at 7 by 2.8 by 1.2, is the world’s smallest pocket cellular telephone, and is in demand worldwide. Turning to the list of Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement, AFE Holdings subsidiary AFE Displays, of Sutton Coldfield, has had the Award graciously conferred for its microprocessor-based graphic display systems, exported throughout Europe and the US. Colchester-based Emhart Corp subsidiary Dynapert Precima Ltd, has been honoured for the second consecutive year for its pick and place equipment for the electronics and microelectronics industries, and assembly equipment for the semiconductor industry, which it exports to West Europe, North and South America, the Far East and Australia. Eight-year old Enterprise Computer Services Ltd is the company the likes of Atlantic and Meridian call in to install and take down IBM mainframes whern customers want to upgrade or switch, and it has seen overseas earnings from its computer services, model changes, memory and channel upgrades increase six-fold in the last three years, main markets being Europe, the US and Japan. Filtronic Components Ltd, Royal London Industrial Estates, Acorn Park, makes the list by virtue of its microwave components and subsystems which it exports to telecommunications and satellite markets in the US, Israel, India and Western Europe. Husky Computers, the Coventry based company now owned by Peek Holdings Plc subsidiary, wins the Award for its handheld computer systems, peripherals and software which find their main markets in France, South Africa and the US. The 10 employees who make up ProMicro Ltd, North London, have seen export earnings from its inventory control software for oil and petrochemical industries treble in the last three years; export markets range from North America to Australia. Crawley based Rediffusion Simulation Ltd, the flight simulator supremo currently in the process of being acquired by the Hughes Aircraft Division of General Motors Corp, has received its sixth Export Award, while the STC Plc subsidiary Optical Devices, Paignton, Devon, has gained recognition of the breadth of optical devices product range. And Hor
sham-based Sigmex Ltd turns up a second time by virtue of its computer graphic systems, which have found favour in CAD/CAM markets throughout Europe. Congratulations indeed to all those who made this year’s list.