Valeport designs and manufactures instrumentation for the oceanographic, hydrographic and hydrometric communities, with a worldwide customer base that includes: environmental, defence, oil and gas, renewable energy, construction, dredging and, civil engineering sectors. Products include Current Flow Meters, Tide Gauges, CTD`s, SVP`s, Sound Velocity Sensors, Altimeters, Fluorometers, Wave Recorders, Depth Sensors and Echo Sounders.
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- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Water Monitoring and Testing
- Market Focus:
- Globally (various continents)
- Year Founded:
- 10,000,000 - 100,000,000 â¬
Established in 1969, Valeport designs and manufactures instrumentation for the oceanographic, hydrometric and hydrographic markets, with a worldwide customer base that includes the environmental, military, oil & gas, renewable, construction, dredging and civil engineering sectors.
Key to our reputation for supplying high quality, reliable instrumentation is our philosophy of retaining all aspects of the development and manufacturing processes in-house. Our riverside premises in the picturesque town of Totnes in the southwest of the UK houses all our facilities for designing, CNC machining, environmental testing, assembly, calibration and servicing of all our instruments. This philosophy gives us complete control over every aspect of our products, allowing us to provide our customers with the right tools to do their jobs, with minimum fuss and maximum confidence.
In 2011, we recognised that a combination of this philosophy and our consistent growth meant that we were outgrowing our premises on the bank of the River Dart in Totnes, so we embarked upon the most significant step so far in Valeport’s history. In September 2013, the stunning Reade Building was completed; situated next door to our existing site, the 16,000ft² (1,600m²) 3½ storey building more than doubles our workspace, and houses our entire production facility with a fully equipped CNC machine shop, state of the art calibration laboratory, and two floors of ESD protected assembly workshop.
With half our staff now situated in the Reade Building, our existing 12,000 ft² (1,200m²) facility can now be utilised more efficiently, allowing us to further expand our R&D, sales and service capabilities as well as maintaining a second calibration laboratory dedicated to service and recalibration.
We firmly believe that by continuing to invest in our capabilities and facilities, and by having complete control over every aspect of product design, development and manufacture, we will continue to provide our customers with the high levels of quality, performance and service they have come to expect from us.
Valeport is a 100% family owned business; there are no external investors, and no shareholders outside Charles Quartley’s immediate family.
Whilst it is of course arguable that outside investment in a business is appropriate under certain circumstances, we feel that it is now one of our great strengths that we do not answer to anybody other than our customers. Of course we are obliged to act in the best interests of our shareholders, but we firmly believe that this is best achieved by putting the needs of our customers first.
This philosophy of always asking ourselves “what would I want if I were the customer” is at the heart of virtually everything we do.
- Introduction of 12 month service warranty on any Valeport product, no matter its age or history. Send it back for a service every year, and the warranty never runs out.
- Exclusive use of titanium as standard in virtually all subsea products, in order to eliminate corrosion issues associated with lower cost metals.
- Creation of anti-static environment for all storage, assembly, test, calibration and R&D areas within the premises to virtually eliminate electronic faults.
- Investment in our own CNC machine shop for production of all mechanical components, ensuring total control over quality and supply.
- Every product, both new and serviced, is pressure tested before dispatch so you can be confident it will perform in the field.
- Investment in stock to significantly reduce lead times on standard products, without relying on external factors over which we have no control, such as “Just in Time” supply chains.
One of the fundamental principles on which Valeport is built is the notion that we have to be in total control of all aspects of the business, from design through manufacture to test, calibration and service.
With the exception of certain bought in, industry standard sensors, everything we do is designed in house.
This policy requires a diverse range of skills in our R&D department, including CAD/CAM mechanical design, analogue and digital electronic design, a variety of programming languages including VHDL, C++, Delphi, VB and others for both embedded code and PC software, not to mention specialist knowledge in specific fields such as acoustics, electromagnetism, conductivity and radar.
Having our own fully equipped CNC machine shop is critical to our flexibility, and to the quality of our products.
This has been our biggest area of capital investment as we have grown, allowing us to produce and hold stock of every single mechanical part in nearly all of our products – some 1000 different items in total.
In addition, as well as allowing us to rapidly produce prototypes during the development phase, it also enables us to produce our own custom jigs and test equipment to streamline other processes within the factory.
- Offering a 3 year new manufacture warranty and 12 month service warranty on our products can only be done if we are confident in the quality and reliability of those products.
- Titanium construction is quite robust, so the prime consideration is really one of circuit board reliability.
- Since converting all assembly, test, calibration, storage and R&D facilities to static-free environments, we have seen long term pcb failures reduce by over 95%.
- This is arguably the most important investment we have made in terms of product quality and reliability.
- Product testing is equally critical to maintaining quality.
- Every single circuit board that enters the building is exposed to an environmental test procedure, designed to highlight any component or solder joint faults before the board is functionally tested and then allowed into stores.
- As well as undergoing a standard functional test, every instrument, both new and serviced, is also pressure tested before dispatch.
We recognise that the supply of a new instrument is the start of our relationship with our customers, not the end.
As such we have a dedicated team of highly skilled technicians, able to repair, service and calibrate all Valeport products.
Their goal is to return your instrument as close to “new” as possible, so it will automatically receive any appropriate firmware and software upgrades, as well as a thorough clean, a check on all batteries (both primary and backup), a check on all o-rings and sealing faces, and a pressure test, together with our 12 month service warranty.
Accurate calibration is possibly the most important part of the whole process of manufacturing or servicing an instrument; if you cannot trust the data then the instrument is next to useless.
We therefore continually invest in state of the art calibration equipment and facilities, and the development of new techniques to ensure that the calibration process is as accurate and efficient as possible, without compromising quality. As an example, in 2009 we calibrated over 2500 separate instruments; we simply cannot afford mistakes.