Celebrating 20 Years of Independence on Independence Day!

Member News

Celebrating 20 years since its management buyout, NSF Controls is now a leading UK designer and manufacturer of solenoids, switches, and a specialist provider of customised electro-mechanical assembly services. The impressive buyout from Lucas Varity, appropriately completed on Independence Day 1997, has enabled the business to drive innovation and grow year-on-year.

Twenty years on and NSF Controls is successfully solving the actuation requirements of today’s technologically complex and changing world. The company’s solenoids and switches are used globally across defence and security applications, for automotive, utilities, medical and leisure functions, and breakthrough industrial and commercial automation. 

The original company can be traced back to 1931 but it was the management buyout in 1997 that formed NSF Controls Ltd. Following a merger between owners Lucas Industries and Varity Corporation in 1996, NSF Controls was amongst several divisions considered surplus to future requirement. However, the management team and employees saw potential, taking the lead in the successful MBO. 

Since then, the company has seen on-going investment in advanced tooling and manufacturing facilities as well as the development of its accreditations. Now, BSI Quality Management System ISO 9001 accredited, NSF Controls operates a world-class UK manufacturing base employing around 100 people, including a number of people from the original MBO team.

Supporting the delivery of today’s control critical technologies

Offering the widest range of solenoids and switches from a single source anywhere in Europe, NSF Controls has focused on taking a more advanced approach to product development, engineering and technology; the company’s specialist components often providing a foundation for the development of bespoke solutions, driving forward technological breakthroughs that improve performance and capability of client products and services. 

From minor modifications to custom designs for progressive new applications, NSF Controls’ wide-reaching engineering expertise, integrated manufacturing and assembly skills enable all aspects of development to be progressed in-house, with 90% of output, customised.

Increasingly, NSF Controls is involved with more technically demanding challenges. For one client responding to the growing use of lockers – be it mobile phone charge lockers to fully automated 24/7 parcel lockers - NSF Controls has helped to improve the performance and power consumption of the client’s mobile phone charger lockers. As a result, in excess of five million charges have been successfully provided so far with four million more charges forecast annually. To-date over 2,000 stations have been constructed and more than 50% of these exported to 17 different countries.

Flexible, collaborative partnering

Commenting on NSF Controls’ proactive approach, one of the original MBO Team, now CEO Doug Priestley said:

“With intensifying product complexity, fast-track launch cycles and The Internet of Things (IoT) transforming the way global manufacturers manage engineering today, we take a much more flexible working approach. Partnering to suit client requirements, the experienced team is able to work collaboratively in a cross-functional and cross-discipline environment.

“And it’s this dynamic approach that’s generated results. Sales have risen, turnover has tripled and we are now exporting to over 30 countries.

“Ensuring our team is highly trained is important too in securing the future of our business. The development of local skills through apprenticeships is key. Our on-going programme of work-force development means employees are encouraged to improve their working techniques and environment through the 5S practice. Evidence of this is apparent where assembly lines have been rationalised to minimise fatigue and split shifts rotate within the new lines.

“We’re looking ahead now to the next 20 years and the changes that will be happening in manufacturing and how we can support the exciting technological and engineering complexities of the markets in which we operate today.”