Chronology of SMI and its Technology
Technological breakthrough by Imperial Chemical Industries Laboratories (ICI) developing Polythene (Polyethylene or PE). This was tougher, more easily processed and non-hygroscopic compared to the materials then in use for subsea cables (gutta percha).
The first Polythene cable laid by Submarine Cables Limited (SCL). At this time, British submarines relied on compression glands for sealing cables through the pressure hull. The requirements for increased depth and hydrostatic pressure demanded a completely sealed and shock resistant method of passing cables through the pressure hulls. New technology, developed to bond and mould PE jackets to subsea telecom cable repeater stations, was identified by the Ministry of Defence as a solution to this critical submarine requirement.
The first submarine pressure hull glands (PHG) developed by SCL at Erith, Kent. One of the young scientists and engineers was, John Wise who some 30 years later was to be one of the founders of SMI.
Oberon Class submarines fitted with PE moulded pressure hull glands and PE cables – a world first. Twenty seven submarines built for Royal Navy and for Canadian and Australian navies.
Seven different classes of nuclear submarine all built with PE cables and pressure hull glands successfully sealing the cables in the pressure hulls for 20 plus years.
Scientific Management Associates (SMA) incorporated by Keith Wells with John Wise as Design Manager opens factory in Fareham Hampshire, England.
SMA wins its first major order from Ferranti Thompson for Type 23 frigate sonar glands and cables. This prepares the way for same system on Type 22 Frigates, Type 42 Destroyers and 3 Aircraft Carriers (45 ships).
SMA relocates to Andover, Hampshire, to support its expansion.
Parent company, SMA Australia, sets a policy that SMA (UK) growth must span a range of different technologies and markets over and above hostile environment mouldings. MOD invites SMA to begin qualification to gain Capability Approval to PTS14299 for manufacture of submarine products. SMA achieves qualification.
SMA purchases long leasehold for large new factory which is officially opened by Sir Robert Walmsley, Chief of Defence Procurement and Rt Hon Sir George Young MP.
SMA wins first spares support enabling contract from MOD and continues building relationships with GEC/Thompson Marconi (eventually Thales), Vosper Thorneycroft, Lucas, Strachen and Henshaw, Honeywell, Babcock and the Canadian and Australian High Commissions amongst others.
SMA and German connector manufacturer, GISMA, begin working together
First Astute class submarine launched. This has the Thales Sonar 2076 with PE sonar cables from SMA.
SMA wins first contract to support the Victoria Class submarines in Canada, having supplied the older Oberon Class since 1997.
SMA commences development work with BAE Systems for a high data rate telemetry system for a new generation of submarines.
SMA teams with Tyco to design, and manufacture outboard sonar harness cables for the new French Barracuda submarine. Lean manufacturing training introduced to the factory.
Renewable tide turbine project delivered for Marine Current Turbines. Entered into a long term agreement with MOD for in-service support items.
Major factory refurbishment.
Babcock presents an award to SMA in recognition of the products and support provided to the Vanguard Class Submarine Programme.
The Management completes a buyout from the SMA (Aust) Pty, and appoints a new Board of Directors.
New office and sales operations opened in France and Australia. The company name is changed to SMI (Scientific Management International) reflecting the increasing international level of business.
Rear Admiral Tim Hodgson recognises SMI’s 20 years of continuous capability approval with visit to the Andover plant.
SMI awarded bronze Supply Chain 21 (SC21) status and appointed Collaborative Partner to Thales Maritime Mission Systems
Simex Defence named as SMI Strategic Sales Partner in Canada