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Technology and manufacturing

SRA Developments, Ashburton

Family business is well and truly cutting-edge

“Over the years we have gathered an excellent team from all around Devon – the talent is here in Devon. You don’t have to be based near London to be a hi-tech trailblazer. We have found in south Devon an ideal environment for us to be a hub for bright ideas which have led to new and exciting products.”

Dr Mike Young, Managing Director of SRA Developments

Like many of the family-run businesses – that form an essential part of Devon’s economy-  SRA Developments now based in Ashburton , started off as a one-man-band.

Back in 1978 Dr Mike Young initially operated as a single person consultancy, giving advice on a range of industrial applications of ultrasound. However, after his appearance on the BBC’s Tomorrow World in 1988, SRA rapidly became a global market leader in ultrasonic medical products, benefiting patients around the world.

sra-lotushandsetAs the centre of this success was Dr Young’s innovative device for cutting ceramic tiles incorporating an ultrasonically-vibrating tungsten carbide tip. An orthopaedic surgeon who saw the tile-cutter being demonstrated on the show, called the company to see if the same technology could be harnessed for removing bone cement from revision hip replacements. Patent applications were quickly filed, and this groundbreaking technology known as OSCAR, was put to use in the form of the LOTUS ultrasonic scalpel.

queens-awardSRA Developments worked closely with surgeons across the South West to develop this tool which coagulates and cuts soft tissue in keyhole (laparoscopic) and open surgery, keeping blood loss to a minimum. Similarly, its innovative delivery of ultrasonic energy is considered faster, safer and easier to use than other devices – enabling many patients to go home the same day as their surgery.

LOTUS is sold in over 30 countries, netting SRA Developments around £4 million in annual sales, and in 2010 it won the highest award that can be awarded to a UK company – the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation.