Designing and manufacturing miniature catheter tip pressure transducers and associated medical pressure measurement equipment since 1971
Gaeltec was formed in July 1971 by Donald MacLachlan who lived in Edinbane, about 8 miles from Dunvegan. Shortly after this he moved to the old fishing village of Stein, on the Waternish peninsula, and the company began trading from an old stone-built workshop which had in years past been the premises of a village merchant.
Increasing production and staff numbers soon made this workshop inadequate and, in 1976, it was decided to approach the Highlands and Islands Development Board for assistance in acquiring new premises. Following discussions the Board offered to build, on the present site at Dunvegan, a bespoke workshop designed with the particular needs of Gaeltec in mind. The building was completed in 1977 and handed over in November of that year. Eight years later an administration block was built adjacent to the workshop and staff gradually increased to 27.
Gaeltec manufactures a comprehensive range of miniature pressure transducers. During earlier years, design and production was concentrated on supplying the needs of engineering researchers, most customers being universities and research establishments. More recently, however, the main effort has been towards the manufacture of medical instruments for both research and clinical applications and 95% of present output is medically orientated.
About 60% of output is exported, Europe and the USA being the main markets, but devices are sold directly to Japan, India, Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Uruguay, Canada and to several other countries through UK distributors. In 1983 Gaeltec received The Queen’s Award For Export Achievement.
Over the past few years Gaeltec has developed a range of ambulatory recorders. These are computerised devices that monitor patients going about their normal daily routines to eliminate the changes which occur in patients by being in a strange or controlled environment. The recorded data is then analysed by software packages written by Gaeltec. In 1991 Gaeltec won a SMART award (Small Firms Merit Award for Research and Technology) for techniques developed for it’s ambulatory recorders.
There have been no major difficulties in manufacturing a high technology product in this remote area. Communications through email, post, telephone and fax have proved reliable and enable Gaeltec to maintain world- wide contact with clients. Personal travel to visit customers is however time consuming and is kept to a minimum, although an increasing number of contacts visit Gaeltec here on Skye.