Adrian Rawlinson

By Adrian Rawlinson, Managing Director, Marl International Ltd

The Wider World

Looking back, to me the most significant short and long-term issue was the momentous decision from the referendum for the UK to begin the process to leave the EU. But I believe that ‘Brexit’ will not turn out to be quite so dramatic as the media portrays, because they do not understand business and business adapts and carries on, simply because it has to. In my opinion the influence and contribution of politicians is overvalued and amplified by the media. Although we have some brilliant large companies in Cumbria, the vast majority of wealth creation, job creation and innovation is generated at the SME level all over the country and long may that continue.

For Marl, the short term impact has been an increase in component pricing, but hopefully this will be offset in the medium term with more opportunity for OEM exporters. And London is still regarded rightly as one of the most important design centres in the world. Although the LED revolution is over, we are now in a phase of evolution by application, where customers exercise their imagination to push the boundaries, whilst on-going conversion to LED from conventional light sources will continue at a pace. Perhaps the most exciting trend, driven by the phenomenal power of IT and the resulting ability to analyse and operate at the molecular level, is the holistic scientific applications homogenising physics, chemistry and biology, which will potentially stimulate hundreds of new applications for visible and invisible LED technology.

Internal Issues

In order to enhance Marl’s competitive advantage, especially in meeting the demands of client’s in the UK lighting industry, a fresh approach to customer service and project delivery was implemented in 2016 with some stunning results. (If you doubt my words, then please try us!)

Marl designed and introduced a number of our own new products in addition to launching new products for Citizen and beginning promotion in the UK for Nikkiso DUV LED technology (www.nikkisouvled.com), and Yuji (www.yujiintl.com) very high quality white light sources. Marl also completed a diverse range of special projects, including products and systems for industrial markets, lighting, defence, transportation and illumination of the prominent Hoad Monument in Ulverston.

Prospects for 2017

In terms of LED lighting, although 200 lm/w can be achieved by many manufacturers, in terms of total system efficiency I would expect to see LED efficacy for a broad range of higher quality products to be 100 lm/w to 140 lm/w. This will underpin the sustained conversion to LED as the preferred light source for a huge range of applications, displacing nearly every conventional lighting technology. In parallel, customer demands for higher quality light is likely to see 90 Ra becoming the new standard expectation in Colour Rendering as TM30 gains momentum and increased use as the lighting quality standard of choice .

In 2017 we are expecting to complete alignment to Quality Assurance Standard ISO 9001:2015. I think the opportunities for Marl are probably the best that I have seen for a very long time and we are forecasting a year of growth, as we do our best to help our own customers to enhance their competitive advantage, providing them with attractive, innovative solutions to their LED lighting and requirement for reliable, ruggedised electronic systems. Overall, I am very optimistic about the prospects for Marl and on the macro scale, for the Cumbrian economy, and the UK as a whole.