Our History

A legacy of pioneering computing innovation: Our history since 1985

Our journey has been defined by growth, evolution, and innovation — a story of resilience and determination to constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our unwavering commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction is at the heart of our success. The timeline below highlights some of the most defining moments in our history and how we have transformed ourselves along the way.

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2020 – Acquisition of ASH Wireless Electronics Ltd

In July 2020, we acquired ASH Wireless Electronics Ltd into the Group amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Founded in 2001, ASH established an experienced electronics design and embedded software capability for wireless communications and IoT applications. This was a strategic acquisition for Captec to expand capabilities and offerings for Smart Edge sensing IoT applications and combine them with AI-enabled Edge Computing.

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2019 – Acquisition of Aleutia

In June 2019, we secured the acquisition of Aleutia, a manufacturer of robust, silent and low-power computers. Aleutia was founded in 2006 with the mission of supporting education in Africa. It experienced significant success in providing high-performance, low-cost, fanless computing to African classrooms by overcoming the challenges posed in extremely hot environments. Following the completion of the acquisition, our specialists have re-engineered these computers as the Captec E-Series to offer customers across multiple industries a range of powerful platforms for embedded, edge and IoT computing.

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2019 – Second Queen’s Award for Innovation

In April 2019, we were honoured to win our second Queen’s Award in just three years, this time in the prestigious and coveted Innovation category. The Award recognised engineering and process innovation around our electronic gaming tablets and cable-less, multi-bay charging stations. Specifically, we received praise for the tablet’s custom, cost-effective design, advanced power management electronics, extended battery power pack and ergonomic protective enclosure. This extended to the group charging stations – capable of the cable-free charging of 16 to 60 tablets concurrently.

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2019 – Acquisition of Cove Industrial Enterprises

In the first of two in 2019, we acquired Cove Industrial Enterprises, specialists in precision metal engineering and electromechanical integration, under the umbrella of the Captec Group. The acquisition included the 22,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Farnborough, safeguarding Cove’s skilled workforce while providing further investment opportunities for growth. Adding Cove’s almost 60 years of experience, knowledge and capabilities have enabled a more integrated offering to customers looking for a one-stop, end-to-end electromechanical and computing platform solution. Since the acquisition, we have invested in Cove’s electromechanical integration, enabling them to take on larger, more complex projects.

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2016 – First Queen’s Award for Enterprise

The Queen’s Award is the UK’s highest accolade for business success, which recognised Captec’s substantial economic growth and strong export figures. We were honoured for outstanding international trade results, wider corporate governance and contribution to the local community. Only seven companies in our region were recognised in 2016’s awards, a testament to how prestigious an honour this was for us.

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2015 – Captec Wins Place in Sunday Times 2015 Profit Track 100 and LSE 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain

In 2015, we achieved our first national recognition with inclusion in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100, reflecting a record of strong profitable growth. Only thirteen companies made their debut on the Profit Track 100 that year, and only nineteen companies out of the full one hundred were from the South East of Britain – an indicator of just how competitive the league table is. In the same year, Captec was recognised in the London Stock Exchange’s compendium of 1000 Companies to inspire Britain.

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2014 – Expansion to new premises

As a result of our continued growth, in 2014 we acquired the substantially larger premises of Meggitt Aviation in Whittle Avenue, Fareham. A space increase from 27,000 to over 50,000 square feet enabled the development of highly efficient lean flow lines and expanded 19-inch rack integration facilities. This also allowed us to bolster the Captec engineering, servicing and product development areas. An industry-leading compliance facility was installed, with an EMC chamber and thermal testing labs that enabled us to undertake pre-certification compliance and test platforms for their ability to operate in extreme environments. The Whittle Avenue site acquisition also included a sizeable plot of land with the potential of an additional 80,000 square foot expansion, future-proofing growth for years to come.

2013 – Acquisition of X2 Computing

With the introduction of consumer tablets driven by the legendary Apple iPads, the demand for mobile tablet-based computing extended into more specialised applications for which consumer products were unsuitable. We saw the chance to expand our business into this area, and as we were developing our internal tablet platform capabilities, the opportunity arose to make our first acquisition. A specialist tablet provider, X2 Computing, was acquired and integrated into the Captec business. The acquisition enabled us to expand our capabilities in designing, developing and deploying tailor-made tablet platforms that meet the exact needs of customers. This milestone also extended our core markets into wider enterprise applications encompassing gaming, in-vehicle and retail sectors. It also significantly increased our capabilities to support and service tablet estates in the tens of thousands.

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2013 – Outgrowing Brunel Way

Since moving to Brunel Way, we continued to grow and expand the facility. Each year new projects claimed more space and created more depth in our capabilities. A mezzanine floor extension, an extension to our engineering and customer service centres, a new front car park, an EMC chamber, and so on. But once again we were close to the limit of the capacity of this facility and it wasn’t long before we had to relocate again to continue to grow the business.

2006 – Captec Americas Inc. Canada office Established

Undeterred by the German subsidiary experience, and with lessons learned, we continued to seek growth through international expansion. In 2006 Captec Americas Inc. was established in Kitchener, Ontario, as a springboard into the North American market. Based in the CTT (Canadian Technology Triangle of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo), the business focused on the same business model as the UK for the domestic Canadian and the neighbouring US markets.

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2005 – Second Upscale and Rebrand

Our facilities had been extended to their limit but the growth of the business still required substantially more space. By the end of 2004, a second property was acquired in Brunel Way, Fareham, and the business relocated in March 2005. The move was also punctuated by an opportunity to refresh the Captec brand and logo. The strap-line of Tried, Tested and Trusted was introduced.

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2003 – Captec GmbH German Office Established

By 2003, the ambitions of the company were to grow into Europe. An office was set up in Stuttgart and a German legal entity was incorporated – Captec GmbH was formed. The German market proved very challenging, with a number of local companies with similar capabilities to Captec able to out-compete on price, local presence and support. The distributor business model was challenging to transplant, as the majority of our distribution principals had established distribution agreements with German companies. The ability to sustain the same business model in Germany proved extremely challenging and the company was closed in 2009 with some hard lessons learned.

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1998 – Company renamed and rebranded as Captec Ltd.

The mission to grow our company now needed a different and scalable business model. To achieve this, the company was completely restructured to focus solely on the more scalable design and manufacture of specialist computers, rather than the much lower volume bespoke turnkey systems. This also resulted in a complete re-brand and Captec Ltd was formed – standing for Computer Applications Technologies. This opened up a much wider market in supplying OEMs and systems integrators with specialised and certified computing platforms, enabling faster growth.

1996 – Upscaling facilities: Move to first-owned premises

Our first property was acquired in Southampton, offering us more space to complement our newly expanded business. The premises were aptly named Sirius House, chosen because it is the brightest star in the sky. The company continued to grow, and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) PC technologies became increasingly popular in engineering and scientific applications for systems integrators and OEMs looking to reduce costs and increase functionality. However, COTS alone was not enough, and varying degrees of engineered protection were required to enable computers to operate reliably in demanding and challenging environments.

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1990 – Early Distribution Partnerships

Our partnering relationships led to early distribution arrangements with National Instruments and Advantech. From this, our business model expanded even further, creating and supplying add-on expansion cards to systems integrators and OEMs adopting the PC as their computing architecture of choice. As the company grew, our workforce and facilities expanded.

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1988 – Expanded Business Model

IMS Ltd. expanded and rapidly gained a reputation as a turnkey system solution provider for bespoke applications and integrated systems. Customers such as General Electric, ICI, Marconi, Siemens, Ford and the Ministry of Defence were soon on board. A new breed of business was also starting to emerge globally, specialising in the mass market of plug-in expansion cards for the PC. Although mainly for commercial functions such as graphics cards, many were beginning to address measurement and control applications. We sought more partnering relationships with manufacturers as we integrated more systems such as A/D conversion, motor control, and sensory input.

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1985 – First rented offices: Southampton

The company was born out of a simple idea to harness the power of open architecture PC clone building block components to create cost-effective, high-performance computing systems for engineering and scientific applications. Initially founded as Integrated Measurement Systems Ltd (IMS), based out of unit 306 of the Solent Business Centre in Southampton, the company steadily gained a reputation for delivering bespoke systems tailored to specialised application needs. The business model used cost-effective PC-based computing technologies, specialist plug-in cards, and IEEE-488 instruments to integrate bespoke systems with custom-developed software for engineering and scientific applications. Considered a niche market, it presented an opportunity where applications were now able to be performed at a price point not previously possible. PC-based systems could now implement automated measurement, control, data acquisition, testing, and many more applications.

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1984 – Genesis

Captec was founded by Max Toti, a visionary electronics engineer with a passion for innovation. Drawing on his experiences working at IBM and Hewlett Packard, Max incorporated Integrated Measurement Systems Ltd in November 1984, just as the PC revolution was beginning to take shape. With his background in electronics and experience at two of the world’s leading tech companies, he saw the potential for low-cost computing to transform engineering and scientific applications.

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Tried, Tested and Trusted

Established since 1985, we take great pride in our Tried, Tested and Trusted approach, which has earned us a reputation for excellence in our industry. Whether you need a bespoke solution or a customised configuration, we have the expertise to assist you. Contact us to find out how we can support your application deployment anywhere.