One of the great strengths of the Engineering Team at Thistle Design is their ability to draw on a wide range of experience in the encoder industry to provide unique solutions to measurement, motion and control problems.
Thistle Design was founded in 1992 by Bob Frew and Ron Logan.
The Company designs and manufactures encoders, sensors and components for measurement, motion and control applications. It can also provide turnkey solutions for unique system requirements eg automation modules, inspection machines, special to type test equipment etc.
As a result of specialisation in the more difficult areas of the sensor industry - harsh nuclear environments, high reliability applications, advanced defence projects and so on - steady growth has been established and maintained.
This resulted in relocation from original premises at Dalkeith to the Enterprise Centre at Loanhead opened by local MP Eric Clark in 1995.
After 10 successful years here the Company moved to its current location at Borthwick View (also in Loanhead).
Quality has always been a cornerstone of the Thistle Design philosophy and was formalised by achieving BS EN ISO 9001:2015 status for both design and production activities.
Concern for the Environment has also been prevalent in the Companies' development. A range of products enabling more efficient water management and conservation was developed with Innovation Grant support and further products aimed at assisting decommissioning in the Nuclear Industry.
Recognition in the local business community was evidenced when Thistle Design won the Best New Business award presented by Kwik Fit's Tom Farmer on behalf of Midlothian Enterprise Trust. This was followed in 1999 by the main Enterprise Award being presented to the Company at the Midlothian Enterprise Exhibition.
In 2004 the Company was invited by Thales Optronics in Glasgow to participate in its Supply Chain Development initiative. This involved Thistle Design staff being trained in Lean Manufacturing Techniques by SBAC Engineers. The techniques learned here have now been successfully introduced throughout the business to the mutual benefit of Thistle Design and its customers.
Thistle Design has been extremely fortunate in the level of encouragement, advice and support it has received from a variety of sources throughout its development.
In particular, thanks are due to Gregor Murray, John Forbes and Marion Prebble of Midlothian Enterprise Trust and also to Ian Young and Ian Broadfoot of Midlothian Council's Economic Development section.
Thanks are also due to Jim Shields of SEEL , Mark Lainton of SBAC and a number of Thales Optronics staff involved in the LEAN training including Stevie Mitchell and Keith Tennant.