Smart meter solution means growth for Samuel Taylor

Posted on 12 Apr 2012 by Tim Brown

A combination of engineering expertise and innovative thinking has enabled Redditch-based metal contacts and contact materials specialist Samuel Taylor to win an export order to the USA worth approximately £8 million.

The order means that the company’s turnover has increased to more than £25m.

The company specially developed a metallic component which will be used in thousands of energy saving smart meters for an American manufacturer.
Samuel Taylor’s metal component conducts power through the meter. The part will reduce costs for American consumers and energy suppliers because it will help to reduce the cost of reading meters. Samuel Taylor’s expertise will enable more smart meters to be installed. These can be read remotely so saving the need for meter readers to visit households.

The company is making 1.5 million meter sets of the component at its plant in Redditch, Worcestershire. The part will be shipped in large quantities to Mexico for assembly.

“We had been working on a project with a Cambridge-based design consultancy for a couple of years”, explained Alastair Gordon, Samuel Taylor’s Managing Director, “when it morphed into something much bigger.”

Mr Gordon said the project was a challenge because it involved creating a part that is guaranteed to extreme consistency in order for the electronics to read the current whilst also being able to double as a 200 amp relay. He said that this project demonstrates how well Samuel Taylor can provide engineering solutions to many design problems.

“The business of switching such currents is not easy” said Mr Gordon. “There are very few people in the world who really understand electromechanical switching. That is because the subject is no longer being taught in universities.”

He added that while many companies in the world can make metal components, very few have the skills and knowledge developed by Samuel Taylor to make the extremely precise tooling required.

Approximately 35% of Samuel Taylor’s business is in smart meters and over 80% of its products are exported. Its products are often complex electromechanical parts that are produced on highly specialised equipment and tooling designed and built inhouse.