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Renishaw acquires stake in laser measurement specialist

A 29% stake in UK-based Measurement Devices Ltd (MDL) has been purchased by Renishaw, a world leading engineering technologies company.

MDL's C-ALS system used for measuring underground voidsAugust 2010: A 29% stake in UK-based Measurement Devices Ltd (MDL) has been purchased by Renishaw, a world leading engineering technologies company, in a deal which will help MDL fund its expansion in the fast-growing global eye-safe laser measurement technology sector.

The £2.3 million investment in family-owned MDL, which is based in York, is accompanied by an agreement which also provides for the remaining shares to be purchased during the next four years.

Founded in 1983 MDL, which also has a Marine Centre of Excellence in Aberdeen and a base in Houston, Texas, has become a global pioneer in manufacturing eye-safe, laser-based, time-of-flight measurement systems used in a wide range of applications worldwide in quarrying, mining, marine positioning, aviation, civil engineering and traffic control.

No changes are anticipated at MDL, which has 50 staff, with founder Steve Ball remaining President in Houston and Elaine Ball remaining Managing Director in the UK. Steve Ball is also the chairman of the MDL Group.

Speaking about the acquisition, Renishaw’s Assistant Chief Executive, Ben Taylor, says “We are very pleased to announce our acquisition of a stake in MDL. We have many reasons to be interested in such a high quality business, one being that its laser systems complement Renishaw’s own metrology products and have the potential to be integrated with them.

“MDL will retain its independent distribution network although, where there are gaps, they may benefit by support from our own global subsidiary network. It is our intention that the two businesses will also share their extensive knowledge of measurement technologies to develop new products for various measurement applications.”

MDL’s President Steve Ball says, “The similarities between MDL and Renishaw are amazing. The main difference being that Renishaw measures small things and we measure large things. With Renishaw’s support and investment, MDL will accelerate its drive to become a world-class company benefiting all our stakeholders and customers.”

MDL has two operating divisions: Sensors, which designs and manufactures generic time-of-flight laser distance meters and Systems, which designs and manufactures laser-based positioning and 3D-scanning products. More details are available at


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