23: Powertronic Drive Systems

If you’ve ever stopped for a kebab on the way home, chances are you’ve had a close encounter with Powertronic. Almost every kebab shop in the country uses the firm’s motors for their rotisseries. Founder Robert Hale set up the company in 2000 to be a one-stop shop for AC and DC systems. “The motor is an essential building block. Wherever there’s a machine, there’s a motor. We make motors for everything – from stair lifts to woodstove burning systems.”

This “one size fits all” approach has netted Powertronic Drive Systems a turnover of £5.2m, with profits of £322,000 and a compound growth rate over the past four years of 119 per cent. The big challenge for Hale in the future is competing with cheaper motors on the market while maintaining quality. “Anyone can produce a Rolls Royce for £100,000,” says Hale. “But producing a Mercedes for the price of a Volkswagen is a lot harder.”

Powertronic has now diversified into more boutique motors. Planning to shoot off into space? It’s likely to be a flame-proof, explosion-proof Powertronic motor and gearbox that gets you there, resisting temperatures of -280 degrees. Predicted turnover for the company in 2008 is set at £9m.


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