Fairfields is an innovative systems integrator. Due to the fast-moving environment in which Fairfields operates, the ability to be able to innovate is critical for the success of the company and to keep it at the leading edge of the instrumentation, control and automation industry.
The success of Fairfields can be attributed to a number of reasons, which include the company’s commitment to its customers, to its employees and to the companies that make up its supply chain. The company occupies a niche market; its competitive advantage lies in the bespoke and independent approach that it takes in selecting the most suitable equipment for each application.
- Our history
Fairfields was founded in 1987 by Stephen Fowles, an engineering graduate from Sheffield Hallam University, in order to meet the instrumentation, control and automation industry’s need for high quality system design and manufacture.
The core of the company’s business is developing unique control and automation systems that meet the demanding industrial and technical requirements of our customers. Whilst our projects and customers are many and varied, at the very core of our business is creativity and innovation.
- First customers
Kelloggs was Fairfields first customer. The brief was to modify the cooker control system and introduce a recipe handling system onto ‘Modvue’, which was one of the very earliest Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs). This was closely followed by work for TransManche Link on their boring machines for the channel tunnel. Fairfields carried out the design of the electrical, control and HMI systems for the cutter-head, shield, segment erectors and back-up systems. The construction, installation and commissioning of the control system was completed on site at Shakespeare Cliff in Dover, Kent.
- Expansion & growth
Expansion & growth
As Fairfields became more established, the workload increased and the company was able to employ more staff to fulfil its work obligations. In order to expand the business, in 1994 the company moved from its original premises in Alfreton to Bolsover, Derbyshire. At the same time the company changed its status from a partnership to a limited company.
The company continued to grow and in 1998, relocated again to characterful offices in Kirton, Nottinghamshire. This was a move away from ubiquitous units on industrial estates to premises that included a Victorian rectory and a derelict village hall. Soon after, work started on the site to create yet more office space for further expansion.
More recently, in April 2015, Fairfields moved again to its current location in Retford, North Nottinghamshire. Now with over 45 staff, the larger premises has additional facilities, including a dedicated testing space and more meeting rooms as well as being more accessible to road and rail transport links. It has more than doubled the square footage compared to the Kirton offices, meaning Fairfields can continue to meet the growing demand for its services and further increase its workforce.
2015 also saw a change in ownership and management, with Michael Doney moving into the position of Managing Director, supported by two Directors – Peter McMorrow, Engineering Director and Oliver Mangham, Applications Director. The three Directors have been with the business since the early 2000s. Steve Fowles is still on board as a Business Consultant.
Fairfields crosses the Atlantic
Fairfields has been fortunate enough to develop a number of relationships with North American companies. We teamed up with CAN-ENG Furnaces International Ltd from Niagara, Canada in 1999, followed by O’Hara Technologies, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, which was looking for support to bring their tablet coating machines to the European market. Fairfields carried out the design, installation, start-up and IQ/OQ validation for these machines, and still continues to do so today. We have also worked with Friede & Goldman Ltd, a naval architect and marine engineering firm from Houston, Texas, which enlisted Fairfields to design the riser racking control system on its semi-submersible drilling rig.
Fairfields continues to have a presence all over the world, including such countries as Kuwait, Dubai, Oman and Turkey as well as closer to home throughout Europe.
- New project development
New project development
The ability to deal with change is an integral part of the company’s culture. Fairfields is not averse to controlling risks, which is demonstrated by the company’s ability to combine project-based work with new product development. For example, a range of relay interface cards was produced and marketed by the company, mostly to the steel industry.
- Iconic projects
Fairfields has successfully contributed to many prestigious and innovative projects over the years and has worked for various blue chip companies and public sector organisations. Some of our more famous contracts have included:
- Falkirk Wheel Boat Lift
- Tower Bridge
- Wimbledon centre court retractable roof
- Palace of Westminster Division Bells
- Anderton Boat Lift
- London Eye
- Gateshead Millennium Bridge