JUNE 5, 2009--The affairs, business, and property of Surface Inspection UK (Bristol, UK; www.surface-inspection.com) are now being administered by RD Allen and RM Hawes of Deloitte LLP (Bristol, UK). The company is seeking a buyer of its intellectual property rights.
Surface Inspection (formerly Fima SI Ltd) developed its first vision-controlled ceramic tile inspection system in 1989. It currently has an installed base exceeding 600 located in decorative tile factories worldwide.
Its three flagship machines in the market are the Processmaster 5G, a modular design automatic inspection system installed upstream of the kiln to inspect either green or biscuit tiles; the Flawmaster 5G, an automatic inspection system that classifies ceramic tiles according to their quality, tonality, and shade at the packing point; and the Flawmaster 5GX, a large-format version of the 5G, taking tiles up to 1200 x 1200 mm.
Until late 2008, assembly of the equipment was based in the UK. In an effort to reduce costs, production was licensed to an Italian assembly partner, enabling Surface Inspection UK to move to smaller premises and focus on R&D of both the systems in operation and potential new applications. In 2007, sales were GBP5.4 million and in 2008 they were GBP4.8 million, with the last few months being royalty income only following the manufacturing agreement.
Michael Charles of Amco has been retained to seek out a buyer for the company and/or its assets including its extensive IP rights. Charles says, "We have been very impressed by the depth of knowledge and technical ability in this company. It is unfortunate that the market has turned against Surface Inspection as otherwise they would have been exploiting other market sectors.
"We are looking for a decisive buyer who recognizes the inherent value in the intellectual property rights contained within the company. The talent within this company should not be allowed to dissipate," concludes Charles.
-- Posted by Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com