Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Teknis is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director
An ESD bench with a typical
range of ESD protection products
Thirty-five years ago, the susceptibility of electronics
to electrostatic discharge – known in the industry as
ESD – became evident to David Thompson, now the
managing director of Teknis. At the time, he was working for
a multinational chemical and plastics distribution company
where demand grew for antistatic and conductive materials. As
he began to put together a range of control products to meet
demand, he decided to concentrate fully on this business sector.
He and his business partner, Davina Biswell, eventually acquired
Teknis Ltd 20 years ago. Upon doing so, he immediately set
about transforming the company from a small, unfocused
general ESD protection products supplier into a UK leader in
their field. David tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about
As the world becomes almost entirely dependent on sophisticated technology,
electronics become smaller, incredibly powerful and even more susceptible to ESD.
Most people recognise static electricity as lightning, a phenomenon generating
many thousands of volts. What is less frequently understood is that a small charge
of less than 100 volts generated by an ungrounded person or incompatible plastic
packaging is electronics manufacturing’s greatest enemy. These very low levels
(when it cannot be seen, heard or felt) can prove fatal to sensitive devices – such as
integrated circuits – and assemblies.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 1965
»Located near Royston,
»Services: Manufacturer and
distributor of static protection
»No. of employees: 17
Highlighting best practice
Understanding the problem
Successful ESD protection is achieved
by grounding all generators of static,
especially people, as we all generate
static electricity with every movement.
Teknis provide a full portfolio of
conductive and non-charge-generating
products, including flooring, work
surfaces, storage and materials-
handling systems. All are uniquely
sourced and designed by us to work
in partnership with each other, link to
earth and take any static generated
charge safely to ground.
With our internal sales team and our
three external UK field engineers,
we have over 100 years of expertise.
For us, good ESD protection is about
assessing customers’ needs, helping
them understand their static problems
and quickly providing them with
technical solutions. Our customer
base varies from the smallest of SMEs
to large national and multinational
companies, but ESD problems are
always similar, whatever the size of
the business. By working with our
customers to control static electricity,
we help ensure their final products
– from defence systems and motor
vehicles to mobile phones and medical
electronics – meet reliability and
performance expectations that they
and their own customers demand
In-house production
A large part of our business is
designing materials-handling products,
such as conductive containers with
divider systems and conductive foam
inserts. Most of our clients demand
a fast response and turnaround from
the initial enquiry to the final product.
Historically, Teknis would have been
heavily reliant on other suppliers
Our goal, however, is always to
manufacture as much as we can
in-house in order that we can react
swiftly to meet the requirements of the
order. For this reason, we continue to
invest in machinery to provide us with
the necessary conductive foam, board
and box products to fulfil customers’
orders. Our industry is quite niche
worldwide, and we will often partner
with similar companies where their
products are complementary, such as
technical instrumentation and bespoke
flooring materials. The aim is always to
have a full product offering “from the
floor up”, as we often say.
International standards
Wherever worldwide electronics
manufacturing is based, it will
nonetheless entail working to either the
European or the USA ESD standards,
which provide detailed information on
how to successfully install and use ESD
The two standards also demand that
all personnel are fully trained and
that all training is fully documented. I
present training to many of the major
UK defence contractors, and as the
demand for training has increased
exponentially across all electronics
Precision design and
manufacturing using our
automated machinery
For us, good
ESD protection
is about
needs, helping
understand their
static problems
and quickly
providing them
with technical
manufacturing sectors, it has become
an important part of our business,
while also enhancing our reputation
for ESD excellence.
Future needs
Advances in the Internet of Things,
autonomous vehicles, robotics and
medical science depend on the
growth and continued development
of sophisticated electronics. Devices
become smaller, more powerful and
more sensitive to ESD. We now have
frequent discussions where the threat
of single-digit voltage, or indeed zero
voltage, is the challenge.
This is where we focus our abilities
in order to mitigate that threat. Our
product range is constantly evolving,
and we are always looking to
source, develop and supply the next
generation of ESD control products
to meet the rising requirement.
Continued investment in digital
marketing is key for us, with a
constantly expanding website and
associated documentation. Ensuring
we keep abreast of the latest changes
in standards is paramount, as our
customers often rely on us to keep
their systems up to date.
Growth challenges
All companies – be they large or small
– can only be successful with the right
team of people. We have enjoyed
profitable growth over the last ten years,
but for this to be sustained, we need to
continue employing first-class people. As
we are based just outside of Cambridge,
this is proving to be increasingly difficult,
as our region is enjoying an enormous
amount of growth, with investment
pouring into the area, which has
resulted in rising salaries due to
demand outpacing supply. Employment
costs have risen consistently over the
last few years, and we, like all SMEs,
must ensure we invest wisely in order
to keep control of our overheads.
By continuing to increase the
productivity of the entire team,
from management and sales to
manufacturing and despatch, we will
continue to grow successfully. We
live in changing times, and the ability
to import raw materials and finished
products swiftly and competitively is key
to both our development and that of
our customers’ businesses. Challenging
times may lie ahead, but I believe we
are well placed to meetthem.
Ensuring we
keep abreast
of the latest
changes in
standards is
Conductive containers
awaiting despatch
Assisting a customer with an
enquiry from our website


This article was sponsored by Teknis. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.