Heraeus Noblelight gains Queen’s Award for enterprise in the innovation category

Great honour for Heraeus Noblelight Ltd, of Cambridge. On the birthday of Queen Elizabeth the company has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category for its development of an automated manufacturing process for flash lamps. The process has led not only to greater production yields and manufacturing flexibility but also to improved product consistency and extended lamp lifetimes. Commercially, it has helped the company to increase its market share in the face of overseas competition and reinforce its position as the global technology leader in its field.The formal presentation of the Award will be made by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, later this year and all the Award winners will attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace in the summer.

Heraeus Noblelight will present flash lamps at World of Photonics in Munich in June in Hall B1 booth 313.

Automated manufacturing for flash lamps
Automated flashlamp production at Heraeus

“We feel very honoured to receive this award,” says Debbie Playle, managing director of Heraeus Noblelight in Cambridge, “It acknowledges the hard work and expertise of a company which has been at the forefront of lamp technology since it was founded in Cambridge in 1978. The manufacturing process itself took around five years to develop. Utilising our global leadership position has allowed the company to re-invest and transition from being simply a component supplier to a solutions provider. Today our lamps find application in areas as diverse as printed electronics, the annealing of silicon wafers, Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP), ink curing and drying and other rapid photonic processes”.

Flash lamps deliver high power radiation from Ultra-Violet to Infra-Red and historically the main application areas have been in Solid State Laser pumping and Intense Pulse Light (IPL). The manufacture of flash lamps, has traditionally relied on mechanical skills to produce the glass-to-metal seals and meet the very tight tolerances. The new manufacturing process is the first that combines modern electrical, mechanical and software components in single piece flow production cells, using proprietary auto-assembly equipment to replicate manual tasks.


Note to Editors

Noblelight Ltd. was founded near Cambridge, UK in 1978 by John and David Littlechild, with just three employees. Lasers were then an emerging technology, which mainly served research applications. In 1987, Noblelight Ltd. was taken over by Heraeus and the Noblelight name was used to brand the Specialty Lighting group of Heraeus. Today, over 100 people are employed on the original site in the Cambridge Science Park. Flash lamps from Heraeus Noblelight serve cutting-edge laser applications, e.g. in Automotive, Medical fields, Cosmetic and Industrial processes that need high intensity broadband light, as well as in many areas requiring Rapid Thermal Processing.

Heraeus Noblelight won the Queen’s Award for Export in 1990 and 1995.


The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

This is the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s Awards, which provide an opportunity to celebrate and encourage excellence in UK business. The awards are presented for outstanding achievements by UK businesses in one of three categories. These are:

  • Innovation
  • International trade
  • sustainable development

To receive the accolade in the innovation category, a business has to demonstrate either

  • outstanding innovation, continued over at least 2 years
  • continuous innovation and development over at least 5 year


Award winners may use the prestigious Queen’s Award emblem on all literature and goods for five years, to acknowledge their success.

HNL management
The Heraeus Noblelight, Cambridge management team (LtoR) Abby Littlechild (Global Sales Manager),Jeremy Woffendin (Technical Director), Michael Bennett (Production Manager), Martin Brown (New Applications Manager), Debbie Playle (Managing Director), Mark Bartlett (Financial Director), John Littlechild (R&D and Co-Founder), Ian Green (Regional Sales Manager)
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