Harwell-based automotive technology company Zircotec has been named as a runner-up at the prestigious Martin & Audrey Wood Awards, hosted by Oxford Innovation and Science Oxford. The company was recognised for its innovation and achievement in the ‘Precision Engineering and Instrumentation’ category during a ceremony held at the Saïd Business School in Oxford on 29th October, having demonstrated a strong commitment to the development of ceramic-based thermal coatings for use in a wide range of industries.
“We’re delighted to have been recognised for our contribution to thermal barrier technology as we continue to research and develop market leading heat management solutions,” comments Terry Graham, managing director, Zircotec. “The company has come a long way in the past 15 years and produced a range of highly regarded coatings, including our new flexible coating, ZircoFlex. It is a great testament to the skills and knowledge of our staff that our contribution has been independently commended by local organisations promoting the value of science and innovation.”
A spin-out from the UK nuclear industry, Zircotec first began developing coatings for motorsport and automotive applications in 1994 when it developed a coating for the Subaru World Rally Team to help reduce in-cabin temperatures and improve driver comfort. Zircotec has since gone from strength to strength, setting up its own business unit in 1999. The company’s engineers pioneer solutions to help manage heat and control temperatures throughout motorsport, including the highly competitive world of Formula One, where thermal management solutions are in strong demand to protect sensitive, carbon composite materials. Its coatings are also widely used outside the automotive industry, with increasing interest from the industrial, aerospace and marine sectors.
Zircotec’s latest innovation, ZircoFlex™, is thought to be the first flexible ceramic heat shield, a breakthrough in the manufacture of ceramic-based thermal coatings. Importantly, it has been proven to reduce surface temperatures by up to 64 percent, a substantial difference compared to traditional thermal barriers. This latest development has numerous potential uses and simplifies the application process dramatically for end users, as the coating can be applied by the customer without sending components to Zircotec’s factory for plasma-spray treatment.
“There was very little to separate the finalists in the Precision Engineering category and we were very impressed with Zircotec’s work in continually developing its technology and refining its coatings to suit different industries and applications,” explains Charlotte Wilde, market research and event manager, Oxford Innovation.
The Martin & Audrey Wood Enterprise Awards celebrate the achievements of companies, innovators and entrepreneurs located in Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley (including Berkshire and Buckinghamshire). They were established in 2005 by Oxford Innovation in honour of Sir Martin and Lady Wood, who co-founded Oxford Instruments Plc, often regarded as Oxford University’s first spin-out company and now a global business with 1,200 employees. The couple continues to support start-up and growing companies throughout Oxfordshire.
This year’s awards were organised by Oxford Innovation, an organisation providing flexible office and laboratory space to innovative companies, and Science Oxford, which promotes the growth of high technology businesses in the area by building links between business, education and the public. Science Oxford opened Oxford’s first cultural centre for science and enterprise in 2005. Alongside ‘Best Precision Engineering and Instrumentation’, awards were also presented for ‘Best Information and Communication Technology’, ‘Best Green Technology’, ‘Best Medical Devices and Healthcare Technologies’, as well as the overall Martin and Audrey Wood winner for 2009.
For further information about Zircotec or to make an enquiry about a coating, please visit www.zircotec.com.