Fortress celebrates Queen’s Award hat-trick

Fortress Interlocks, experts in automation safety and interlock systems, has been awarded its third Queen’s Award for International Trade, recognising the outstanding growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

Fortress Interlocks is amongst 230 businesses nationwide recognised this year in categories that include sustainable development, promoting opportunities through social mobility, innovation and international trade. In 2007, the company won the Queen’s Award for Innovation and in 2008, the Queen’s Award for International Trade. Winners of the International Trade Award must demonstrate substantial growth in overseas earnings relative to business size and sector.

This award is the result of a five-year strategy by Fortress Interlocks to build export growth, targeting regions such as Europe, Asia Pacific (including China) and The Americas. Interlocks are traditionally a mechanical solution, but Fortress says it prides itself on embracing the digital revolution to incorporate electronic and software-based solutions for customers. Business leaders in different local markets are empowered to make their own decisions and an online distributor portal tracks global success, encouraging other members of the sales force to replicate such efforts.

Jo Smith, managing director of Fortress Interlocks, said: “Our business strategy is based upon innovative customisation, creating robust solutions to allow our customers protect their employees and productivity, whilst our competitors have gone down a route of standardisation.”

In 2016/17, total sales were £22.5million, with export sales accounting to £18.3 million. Over the last three years, sales have grown by over 62%.

The company says it is committed to growth by innovation, continuing its development of intelligent interlocks and most recently adding connectivity to its amGardpro range – with safety information exchanged using either PROFIsafe or CIP safety protocol.

Fortress also recently launched the ncGard product range, described as a complete solution of non-contact safety switches for safeguarding machinery. In autumn the company will launch ATOM, the first high coded RFID gate switch designed to be highly robust and ultra-compact form factor. When discussing future growth, Jo said: “Winning this award is testament to the effort we have made to take our solutions to new markets. Our target is to continue to grow sales at 10% per year and be the automation safety supplier of choice in the machine safety market.”