FT Technologies was founded in 1981 by Peter Elgar and Derek Cavendish-Pell. The business originally concentrated on defence based research projects. In 1988, Dr Savvas Kapartis and Dr Stephen Norton joined the company. In the early 1990s there was a military requirement for a wind sensor for ballistic meteorology with no moving parts. It had to be rugged enough to operate reliably on battlefield equipment.
All the mechanical and ultrasonic technologies available had weaknesses. Dr Savvas Kapartis and his small team developed the concept of combining Acoustic Resonance with ultrasonics and the measurement of phase shift. This now forms the basis of the Acu-Res® technology that powers all FT sensors.
The technology was patented and the first product, the FT702, went into production in 2000; this had a stainless steel body combined with other features that suited many military uses. These products were sold to a wide range of wind sensing applications but it gradually became clear that the product’s robustness made it ideal for the developing wind turbine industry. The first sales were made to European manufacturers in 2002. In 2003 this innovative technology was a finalist for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert award.
The business developed rapidly. The LM product range for integration on OEM equipment was developed in 2003 and rapidly found favour in defence and civil defence as well as a wide range of civilian applications.
In 2008, the first sales were made to China, where the business has grown rapidly. A new factory was opened in 2009 in Teddington to accommodate growing demand and to incorporate robotics into the manufacturing process, during 2011 production capacity was doubled. Advances in manufacturing continue and include the development of a fully automated, robotised wind tunnel and assembly and automated test equipment (ATE).
In mid 2011 the FT702LT series was used in serial production by 20 wind turbine manufacturers.