Renishaw early promotional materialEarly promotional material from Renishaw.
One of the most recognisable names in the British additive manufacturing industry is celebrating an important milestone in 2013.
Renishaw is observing its 40th year with a series of events, marking four decades of surviving economic recessions, developing emerging technologies and adapting to the changing face of the UK's manufacturing sector.
The origins of Renishaw are unknown to even those who work closely with the company, and many may be surprised of the firm's auspicious start.
In 1972, David McMurtry - who would later go on to receive the title Sir David - invented a touch-trigger probe to use on a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) while working at Rolls-Royce.
The touch-trigger probe was to provide a solution to the issue of measuring fuel pipes for the Olympus engines used on the Concorde supersonic aircraft.
Sir David was acknowledged as the inventor on the patent and the potential for this breakthrough was soon realised both by the engineer and John Deer, who is now Renishaw's Deputy Chairman and worked at Rolls-Royce at the time.
Together, they manufactured and sold the first 10 probes to the then CMM manufacturer Notsa - with these first probes being branded S&A, which was the name of the small business Sir David had formed with a friend to manufacture some of his earlier inventions.
However, as interest from other CMM manufacturers increased, S&A needed to secure its position with a manufacturing licence from Rolls-Royce who held the patent, but whom would only deal with companies having limited liability.
As such, Sir David and Mr Deer acquired a so-called 'off-the-shelf' company from a firm that specialised in registering and selling companies.
This is how Renishaw got its name, and on April 4th 1973 Renishaw Electrical Limited was born.
Sir David has since said that it was always his intention to change the name, but "we never quite got round to it".
Renishaw Electrical entered into a licence agreement with S&A, which continued until 1976 and from then on all probes carried the Renishaw trademark.
During that year, joint ownership of the original patent and other probe-related patents were established with Rolls-Royce, who continued to earn a royalty income on sales until 1987, when Renishaw purchased its 50 per cent share.
Four decades later and Renishaw is a listed company with a valuation of £1.3 billion. It employs more than 3,000 people in 32 countries and is a world leader in numerous fields, including metrology, spectroscopy and additive manufacturing.
With such a rich background, it is understandable that Renishaw wants to celebrate its prosperity in style and so the company will be holding a series of events to mark its 40th birthday throughout 2013.
The company is not going to rest on its laurels during this important year, however, as it is continuing to make an impression on the manufacturing stage, both in the UK and internationally.
In February the company was shortlisted for a Best Technology prize at 2013's PLC Awards, which is given to businesses that have proven successful in the development of technology. Renishaw has previously won the award, taking it home in 2010.
Renishaw has a great deal to be proud of and the company will be holding one of its 40th birthday celebrations in June, when it will be hosting a balloon competition at its headquarters which is planned to feature 40 hot air balloons. One of a series of events marking this fantastic achievement.
Chris Pockett, Head of Communications at Renishaw, summed up the company's pride in turning 40 by stating: "From John Deer's house in Chepstow to a multi-faceted business employing over 3,000 people in 32 countries, it has been quite a journey. To achieve so much has meant constantly innovating, both in terms of products, but also business processes. Therefore, whilst we will celebrate and reflect on our 40 years of achievements, the focus will very much remain on the products, people and projects that will help secure many further years of successful growth."