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Bill Laughton founded Aerco (Aviation Electrical and Radio Company) in September 1956 and so we celebrate our 60th anniversary in September of this year. The company started out in a wooden workshop in Horsham installing radio equipment in aircraft and over the next ten years developed its engineering and technical capabilities servicing navigation lighting and other electrical aircraft equipment in both the civil aviation industry and the MOD.
Gradually, a stock-holding and distribution element was added to the business and slowly, but very surely, the company developed into the major electrical and electronics component distributor that it is today.
One of a breed
Bill was a pioneer of the UK electronics distribution industry being one of a select band of trailblazers that included Fred Lane of FC Lane, George Stuart of Sasco, Alf Pegg of AWP and Cyril (Lofty) Freeman who at that time was at Richfield Electronics. All these entrepreneurs formed companies in the Horsham and Crawley area of West Sussex and went on to run successful and long lived businesses.
A true family business
Bill handed over the running of the company to his son, Rob, in 2000 but continued working in the company until shortly before he died in September 2013. At this time there were three generations of the Laughton family working in the company Bill, Rob and his wife, Fiona, and their son Harry.
The more things change ….
When Bill started out there were no computers, no mobile phones and no fax machines, scanners, e-mails or websites. Even ballpoint pens were in their infancy.
Modern communications are now far more sophisticated of course and have changed the relationship between distributors, their suppliers and customers. At Aerco we have always been aware of the potential danger that instant, electronic communication methods can bring and try very hard to ensure that we do not reduce the close and vital interaction that we have with our customers.
Handling growth and change
Aerco’s growth has been impressive over the past decade due to organic growth and the acquisition of companies like Fan Technology in 2000, Spartan Europe in 2008 and Electro Cables in 2015. Still family-owned it is now an SME with a turnover of just over £13 million.
It is a challenge to maintain growth and profitability in a changing market in which large, broad-line, multinational distributors dominate with the top 10% of distributors controlling more than 90% of total sales.
Aerco’s basic principals are to form strong working partnerships with both suppliers and customers while continuing to invest in long-term price agreements and call-off orders. These, backed up by a large stock holding of top quality products and high customer service levels, will be the keys to continued success.
| 28/09/2016 14:22:23
On the 4th May 1982, HMS Sheffield, a Type 42 Guided Missile Destroyer being deployed in The Falklands Conflict, was attacked by two Argentinian Super Etendard aircraft armed with Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles. The missiles scored a direct hit, but whether or not they exploded is open to conjecture and debate. However, what is beyond debate is that damage caused by the missile impact severed the high-pressure fire main on board, and the resultant fire, caused by burning rocket propellant, ignited diesel oil from the ready-use tanks in the engine room, and other inflammable materials used in the ship's construction. Twenty crew lost their lives, and the fires continued to burn unchecked for a number of days after the ship was abandoned. The ship finally floundered on the 10th May.
On the 18th November 1987, a lit match dropped on an escalator at Kings Cross Tube Station resulted in a fire. Thirty-one people, including London Fire Brigade officers, died and 100 people were taken to hospital, 19 with serious injuries.
Although there were other major contributing factors in both cases, the use of PVC insulated cable is both situations did not help, and probably made bad things worse.
When PVC burns, contained within the smoke is Hydrogen Chloride gas. When this condenses with water vapour, or onto a wet surface, Hydrochloric Acid is formed. On the Sheffield, this acid burnt through the printed circuits on the Fire Fighting equipment, allowing the fire to get out of control, and at Kings Cross, people in poorly ventilated areas, trying to escape, choking and suffocating in the dense acrid smoke, were unable to safely evacuate.
We learn by our mistakes, and new materials were sought that could replace PVC, but without the harmful effects of acidic smoke. Hence the introduction of Zero Halogen cable, which is produced without using any of the Halogen group of elements, Florine, Bromine, Iodine and Astatine, as well as the Chlorine found in PVC. Materials within the Polyethylene family have always been favourite, as well as Silicone, but recently a new weapon has been added to the arsenal.
Alpha Wire Inc, for whom Aerco Ltd are Premier Distributors in the UK, have recently introduced the EcoGen range of cables. EcoGen products contain no halogens, phthalates, or heavy metals. The mPPE thermoplastic insulation and jacketing can also be easily recycled. They meet RoHS and WEEE requirements for the elimination of hazardous substances and recyclability.
If you have a need or desire to move away from using PVC insulation, contact us at Aerco Ltd, and we shall be happy to guide you to the right product for your requirements.
To learn more cable and wire services and products at Aerco, please message us or call us on 01403 260206.
We all do it. We stick with the familiar, the ol’ faithful, the trusted recipe and the lucky pants. It’s worked before, so we know that it will work again. But if that’s the case, why isn’t everything made of wood, bone, leather and stone?
Because every now and again, something new comes along, a new material, a better way, one that will, in time, become the new standard, and that is what is happening today.
Alpha 3070 is a 24awg, 600V and 105°C rated, UL1015 PVC insulated hook-up wire, and as standard as you can get. A 1000ft reel weighs 2.46kg, and it has an overall diameter of 2.23mm. This is what a colleague of mine called electric string, it was the base level in any design requiring 600V and 105°C
But, Alpha 6712 is also a 24awg, 600V and 105° rated cable, part of the EcoGen™ range. Approved to UL AWM 11028 it contains no halogens, phthalates, or heavy metals. The mPPE thermoplastic insulation is also easily recycled. It meets RoHS and WEEE requirements for the elimination of hazardous substances and recyclability. But, that’s not all. The overall diameter of this product 1.09mm a reduction of over 50%, and a 1000ft reel weighs 1.03kg, a reduction of 58%!
If it wasn’t for the other approvals that apply, this would bring it close to the requirements of cables used in avionics, and the savings in so called lifetime cost are not to be ignored either. With lighter, reduced diameter looms, the payload or the cost of transportation can be greatly reduced, decreasing the Carbon Footprint of your products.
So, if you are working in a design capacity, and you are about to go with the ol’ faithful, stop a moment, and contact us at Aerco Ltd, and we shall be pleased to help you break a habit of a lifetime
To learn more about the cable and wire services and products at Aerco, please message us or call us on 01403 260206.