The Electronics Industry in London

The London electronics industry is one of the largest of its type within the whole of the United Kingdom. Some of the major companies involved in this area of industry are Racal, Mullard, A.C Cossor, Bush Radio, Decca Radar and Thorn Electrical Industries, to name just a few.

Mullard Limited is possibly the most famous name in UK electronic components and was founded by Captain S.R. Mullard in 1920. The company was set up to build high powered transistor valves for the British Admiralty. Once the business really began to prosper, he sold half the company to Philips from the Netherlands, who he went on to sell the entire company to in 1927. Many valve enthusiasts have dedicated websites which cover Mullards development of the valve. Mullard had offices in Mitcham, but his main offices were located in the London area.

Racal Electronics plc was created in 1950, as Racal Ltd. Racal Electronics plc were at one time the third largest electronics company in England. Racal were a hugely diverse company, developing and making various different types of technology, including, voice and data recorders, laboratory instruments, radar and radio equipment for the military. At their peak, the company operated in 110 countries across the globe, and had a staff of over 30,000.

Racal was once the parent company of Vodafone, before the company sold Vodafone in 1991. Racal was bought by the French company Thomson-CSF, which is now the Thrales Group, in 2000, which has allowed the French firm to access to the highly prosperous UK defence market.

The Decca Radar company was a British gramophone manufacturer which also ran Decca Records, which in turn helped the British war effort during the Second World War. Decca Radar launched its first marine radar in 1949, and named it the 159. The name came from the bus that passed by the laboratory, which was located in the Brixton area of London. The company produced not only the first true motion radar, but also the first anti-collision radar, as well as the first "Type Approved" colour radar. Decca Radar was later sold to Racal Electronics in 1979.

This industry employs a large number of people in the city of London, and this is one of the largest employers in the city. The Manufacturing Technologies Association (which is known as MTA for short) is a prominent group of UK trade companies. It represents a wide range of different companies that are involved in the UK manufacturing technologies industry. The MTA forms the very heart of the engineering sector and works hard to allow the member companies to be as successful as they aspire to be, along with enabling them to realise their maximum earning potential.

The MTA is the main representative of technological companies in the UK as well as other companies that are connected to them. These firms are essential in order to maintain the drive of technology, manufacturing, and innovation in this important sector.

The MTA owns and organises the UK's most important manufacturing event the MACH exhibition which is held every two years at the NEC in Birmingham, which runs for a period of one week in April.

Manufacturing included at the MACH are:

  • Metal cutting
  • Metal forming
  • Automation and robotics
  • CAD/CAM
  • Engineering lasers
  • Tooling and work holding
  • Welding and metal fabrication
  • Quick manufacturing and rapid prototyping

Recently, more than 300 different companies and trade associates have signed up to take part in the MACH show, as it is the first occasion that all the UK technological companies have been able exhibit in the same place in the past decade. The electronics industry in London is constantly growing and developing, and there are expected to be major developments in the years to come. This is certainly an industry to watch, and it is expected that branches of the industry and associated companies that are located in other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe will be setting up bases in London in the next few years as the economy starts to recover.