Sedgefield firm Kromek to lead world in imaging technology

A PIONEERING technology firm is on course to become the world leader in its field after acquiring a US company for an undisclosed sum, a deal which doubles the size of the workforce.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Sedgefield firm Kromek
Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Sedgefield firm Kromek

A PIONEERING technology firm is on course to become the world leader in its field after acquiring a US company for an undisclosed sum, a deal which doubles the size of the workforce.

Formed in 2003, Kromek has developed a global reputation for its innovative scanners, detectors and X-ray machines which are used in the medical, industrial and defence industries.

Now the Sedgefield-based business has acquired Endicott Interconnect Detection and Imaging Systems (EIDIS), a similarly visionary firm which creates specialist detectors for health, nuclear, industrial and home security markets.

EIDIS, which will trade as eV Products Inc, has more than 40 employees at its Pennsylvania base, who now become part of the Kromek group, doubling the overall workforce. Announcing the significant acquisition, chief executive Arnab Basu said: “The group now employs more than 100 people across its three facilities.

“This means that together with our worldwide distributors, Kromek is able to fully service a growing global customer base that reaches across the US, Europe, Asia, Pacific and Australia.”

Formerly known as Durham Scientific Crystals, Kromek has raised in excess of £24m in investment since it went into business 10 years ago to exploit patented technology developed in Durham, experiencing rapid growth to now provide digital colour X-ray and gamma ray detection and imaging to a range of global clients.

In the past it has worked with the likes of the US government to check the safety of nuclear waste and with hospitals around the world to help detect cancer but it is probably best known for its development of an X-ray scanner used in airports to find explosives in luggage, a device which gives such a detailed image of liquids that it can tell the difference between gin and water.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, eV Products has pioneered Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector technology – portable and highly-sensitive technology used in industries ranging from nuclear medicine to security and baggage inspection.

Dr Basu said: “There are compelling reasons for making this acquisition, not least that it puts Kromek Group in a strong position in the spectral radiation detection market by having the widest breadth of technology for detector materials production and manufacturing capability.

“Combining Kromek and eV Products will create an unparalleled company in the CZT industry, meeting the needs of customers in the medical, security, industrial and defence industries.”

KROMEK was originally called Durham Scientific Crystals when it formed in 2003 as a spin-out from Durham University to exploit technology developed in Durham which produces crystals for use in medical screening and security equipment.

It changed its name to Kromek in 2008, an amalgamation of two words – chroma, the attribute of a colour, and mechanism.

In 2007 it secured £350,000 of investment from the Home Office to develop scanning devices which detect explosives and dangerous materials in baggage at airports.

More recently, the firm created a product to distinguish hazardous man-made radiation from natural background radiation.

It is targeted at Japanese people concerned about radiation levels following the wreck of the Fukushima nuclear power station in 2011.

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