Holders Technology is celebrating its milestone 50th year anniversary in 2022. Over the years the company has been through many changes to become what it is today. The business currently has a diverse portfolio of products, serving different industries, including the Printed Circuit Board, Lighting and Smart Building industries.
The Company was started in 1972 when Rudi Weinreich was working in London for a German multinational dental equipment company. The dental industry was using high-speed air turbines, handpieces and high speed motors to drill into teeth. Interestingly, the high speed requirement needed to cut and grind teeth was the same as was needed to drill very small and precise holes into printed circuit boards. A factory in the group also produced motors and spindles for industrial use. This led to Rudi Weinreich obtaining the distributorship for selling these products into the mechanical engineering industry and the emerging PCB manufacturing market in both the UK and USA. This is how the business began!
With the manufacture of commercial PCBs starting in the 1960’s, the company was well placed to take advantage of the opportunity. The company was established as Holders Marketing, later changing its name to Holders Technology to better reflect the products and services offering. Holders was awarded the distributorship of complementary products for sale such as tungsten carbide drills (still sold today) since there was a market emerging for drilling printed circuits, as well as starting complementary services such as the regrinding of drills. Products such as copper clad laminates, flexible laminates, entry and backing material, computer-controlled drilling and programming machines and many other products required for the mechanical machining of PCBs followed.
Rudi Weinreich recollects, “I remember that at one time we had printed circuit boards stacked up to the ceiling waiting to be drilled – each board required about 10,000 holes and all of them had to be delivered to Marconi in three days’ time.” All of this took place in premises in Hertfordshire, right beside the film and television studios where the famous British soap ‘Eastenders’ is filmed. As PCB production in the UK scaled up, sales increased and in 1987, Holders opened a facility in Galashiels, Scotland. At one time, Galashiels became the leading PCB manufacturing centre of Europe and this is where Holders is still located in the UK.
In 1988, the company went public on the USM market and over the next two decades expanded to become a group of 10 operating units. Holders set up or acquired similar businesses serving Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 1988, Netherlands in 1990 and Sweden in 1996. A large competitor in Germany, Cimatec, was acquired in 2002 and joint venture companies in India, Hong Kong and China were set up. The stock exchange listing moved to the Aim market in 2001.
After the year 2000, the PCB market began to change as the cost of manufacturing in the West rose and could no longer compete with the prices being offered from the Far East. Holders consolidated the PCB companies and diversified into the lighting market in 2009.
With the advent of LED technology, Holders acquired a lighting components distributor in the UK at the end of 2009. In 2010, the business also started in Germany, covering the DACH territories and selling a full range of lighting components to the lighting OEMs; LEDs, heatsinks, drivers, lenses etc. Over the years the range of products has expanded and also includes selling fully assembled light engines to customers. In recent years, the company has evolved further selling wireless lighting controls, with a complete range of ecosystem hardware from over 40 suppliers as well as offering a full range of project services.
In 2020, the company started Holders Technology Austria, a joint venture, to promote all hardware and services for the wireless lighting controls business, as well as Holders Technology Data Analytics, a joint venture, specialising in data analytics. The data analytics can provide visualisations and insights from the lighting, energy and occupancy within a building and also through integration, data from other building systems. In 2021 the company started Holders Technology New Zealand and Australia, also focusing on the sale of all hardware and services for wireless lighting controls.