The current business is an
amalgamation of four companies, Microlimit Limited and Howitt &
Griffiths, both formed in the mid 1950’s along with Welec and
Electronic Accessories Ltd.
Microlimit Limited was
formed in October 1955 to supply the local manufacturing industry
with precision parts in volume. Established on the Wigenhall
Industrial Estate in Watford, the name “micro limit” was chosen to
reflect the surface finishes and tolerances that would make its
During the same period Bob
Howitt & Graham Griffiths agreed a partnership and set up as
precision engineers and toolmakers on the company's current site at
Cowley near Uxbridge. Bob was killed in the early days of the
partnership; swerving to avoid a young paper boy, he lost control of
his motorcycle and collided with a telegraph pole. Motorcycles have
remained significant for the owners of this business; Graham’s
collection stretched to 48 while he owned the business. He was also
a well known participant racing his classic bikes on the circuits.
Neil Budgen, the current owner, is way behind with only nine bikes
in his shed - so far.
businesses become involved in the manufacture of handles for the
electronics industry – though for quite different reasons. Howitt &
Griffiths had established themselves as a prime supplier to a local
company called Imhof Bedco soon to become better known throughout
the world as BICC Vero. Howitt & Griffiths had a reputation for
succeeding where others failed so when Imhof were struggling to
purchase handles in the volumes and of the quality required, Howitt
& Griffiths were a natural choice for them to engage.
Meanwhile Microlimit in
Watford had observed the problems the industry was going through and
used its knowledge and experience to produce high quality handles.
This gave the company the independence that comes from manufacturing
and supplying its own product. Competition was strong with several
other manufacturers soon competing for work, most notably CJ
Armstrong and Hambro Engineering, but Microlimit soon established
itself as the largest supplier of quality handles in the UK.
The fortunes of all
concerned changed dramatically with the redesign of the humble
filing cabinet in the early 1980’s. With drawer handles now folded
in to the drawer face, handle manufacturers the world over saw
massive reductions in sales. Vero rationalised its supplier base,
sourcing a much reduced handle requirement from another key
supplier. Howitt & Griffiths continued to supply Vero with
specialised engineering and production support. Microlimit too went
through hard times and its first change of ownership. Graham
Griffiths had built his business up to run like clockwork. This had
enabled his wife Maureen to successfully carry the business forward
following his unexpected death. She went into partnership with the
firm's leading hand, Ian MacDonald, but after a few years it was now
time for her to move on. In June 1986 the current owner Neil Budgen
first became involved when he bought Maureen’s partnership.
He was quick to see the
potential of the firm's historic expertise in the handle industry
and established a successful relationship with Microlimit in
Watford. He soon brought new business to Howitt & Griffiths and
helped to increase the scope of the company, revitalising the
welding and fabrication department. This produced successful
relations with the shopfitting industry and the business produced
point of sale displays for Burtons, Burberry, Etam, Jaeger, Sock
Shop, Tie Rack plus numerous independent outlets. The company's
commitment to delivering superior service to its clients attracted
other quality customers such as British Airways and Hitachi Seiki
while retaining the likes of BICC Vero.
In 1988 Mr Budgen bought
out his partner in Howitt & Griffiths, Ian, who continued to work
for the business in a less demanding role. Not long afterwards
Microlimit’s owners were looking to retire and Mr Budgen bought the
company outright in June 1988. This consolidation brought in clients
such as British Rail, Dexion, GEC Marconi, Plessey, Raytheon Systems
and Rolls Royce. Microlimit and Howitt & Griffiths were run
independently until they were amalgamated under the name Microlimit
in 1990. The company has continued to attract high profile clients,
one of its more recent customers being American Power Conversions.
Weylec was formed in 1985
to manufacture and supply rechargeable batteries and electrical
sub-assemblies to customer specification. The business was acquired
by Mr Budgen in 1999 and combined with Microlimit to provide a more
inclusive service to both businesses’ clients and industry
generally. The company acquired one of its few remaining UK
competitors in the handle industry, Electronic Accessories Limited,
in November 2003.
The new century heralded
significant changes particularly for manufacturing businesses around
the world. Microlimit was not exempt from the effects but having
reached its 50th birthday in 2005 was determined to be a survivor.
With a history of embracing change, new technologies and directions
Microlimit introduced the sourcing and supply to the maintenance
industry of specialist parts for machinery of Japanese and Korean
origin later that year. Microlimit is now looking forward to its
next big birthday party in 2055. We have no idea what products and
services the company will be supplying then; we do know that they
will be of the highest quality and backed by the excellent service
and attention to detail that our reputation has been built on.
0208 901 6530 with your requirements or