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Our History

Explore the History of Wayne Kerr Electronics

1940

Where we begun

Wayne Kerr began as the Wayne Kerr Research Laboratories in London in 1946. The company was started by two engineers who had been working for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). Their first product was an Admittance Bridge used to test broadcasting equipment. The company was named after their favourite actor and actress, Naunton Wayne and Deborah Kerr.

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The Wayne Kerr Admittance Bridges

1950's

Wayne Kerr Admittance Bridges had become very successful and the company started to move into other areas of electrical test and measurement. The R&D Department obtained many patents for their various designs using the Transformer Ratio Arm Bridge. Wayne Kerr was also involved with providing the electrical assemblies used in the first commercial computer (LEO - Lyons Electronic Office) built in the UK.

1960's

Six different laboratories

During this period, the company continued to expand and eventually had six different laboratories researching different subjects. These were:

  • Instruments Laboratory (audio & video oscillators, voltmeters and spectrum analyzers)

  • Audio Bridges Laboratory

  • RF Bridges Laboratory (1MHz to 100MHz)

  • Analogue Computers Laboratory (using precision analogue synthesis)

  • Distance Measuring Laboratory (non-contact distance measuring)

  • Microwave Laboratory (wattmeters and oscillators to 18GHz)

Eventually the company had several different sites in South West London, so the decision was made to relocate the whole company to Bognor Regis 60 miles away on the South Coast of England..

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Ownership changed

The move to Bognor Regis proved successful, and the company continued to expand. This success resulted in several changes of ownership - the Wilmott Breeden Group and Rendar were just two of the other companies involved with Wayne Kerr during this time. The company also expanded into the new market of Automatic Test Equipment (ATE). This was being used for the first time to test the printed circuit assemblies required by nearly all manufacturers of electronic equipment. However Wayne Kerr still continued to develop various types of bridge (used to test passive components) using the knowledge and experience gained in the past.

1970's

1980's

Automatic bridges with LED displays introduced

During this decade, Wayne Kerr was one of the first companies to introduce automatic bridges (LCR meters) with LED displays. In the past, bridges had required skilled personnel to operate them properly, but Wayne Kerr's new models allowed passive components to be tested much more easily and quickly. The company also started to design and manufacture bench top power supplies for use in laboratories and other similar research environments. By now there were many thousands of Wayne Kerr instruments in Universities and Colleges, and many engineers first experience of the Wayne Kerr brand was in these establishments worldwide.

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Ownership changed

At the start of this decade, Wayne Kerr was bought by the Farnell Group. Farnell later sold their Manufacturing Division, including Wayne Kerr, to Advance Group International, and concentrated on component distribution using the name FEC. The subsequent reorganisation involved some parts of the company (RF and Bridges) relocating to Wetherby, 250 miles to the North of Bognor Regis. The ATE business was very successful during this time, mainly due to large contracts with US Automotive customers where the ATE systems were used to test automotive electronics, such as Engine Management Control Units. The company also won some large contracts for their bridges with various military organisations around the world. By the end of the decade, the company was again based in Bognor Regis and was now owned by a UK Venture Capital company (Cinven). The RF & Power Supply Divisions had been sold off, leaving only Bridges and ATE as the company's core activities.

1990's

2000's

Introduction of the 6500 series

In 2001 Wayne Kerr Electronics moved 5 miles from their old factory in Bognor Regis to a purpose built factory located near Chichester. This decade saw the introduction of the 6500 series of Precision Impedance Analyzers and HF LCR Meters with measurement frequencies up to 120MHz and the first use of colour touch screens. It also saw the introduction of the 4300 series of LCR Meters. The class-beating use of RS232, GPIB, USB and LAN remote controlled interfaces allowed a whole new generation of customers to use Wayne Kerr to solve their impedance measurement requirements in the 21st century.

6565 Series of

HF DC Bias introduced

In 2013 Wayne Kerr made the return trip from Chichester to Bognor Regis to move into a new larger purpose-built Global Headquarters. The new site is literally on the opposite side of Durban Road from the old one first used in the 1960's. The 6565 series of HF DC Bias Units was also introduced to provide a solution for SMD Inductor manufacturers which no other T&M company could offer. It is now possible to measure wound components at measurement frequencies of 120MHz with 40A of dc bias current flowing through them.

2010's

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After all these years Wayne Kerr still specialises in instruments for measuring passive components and the impedance of materials. Units are still assembled, tested and calibrated in the UK, and much of the company's output is exported from the UK to all regions of the world.

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