INNOVATORS SERIES: Kerry Green, Director of European Support Engineering UK

As Director for European Support Engineering at Curtis Instruments UK, Kerry has responsibility for new business development, application engineering and knowledge flow between the global teams within Curtis.

In this joint article with Hyperdrive, Kerry explains more about where he sees the development of EV's progressing in the UK.

Hyperdrive Innovation Limited


Curtis UK is Still Here Supporting Your Business

Curtis UK is Still Here Supporting Your Business

Dear Valued Customer 

This is our third update in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic and our team continues to monitor this global situation.  Our number one priority remains the health and well-being of our colleagues around the world who, in the main, we are happy to report, remain safe and well at this time.  Our manufacturing plant in China remains open, manufacturing at full capacity with over 93% of our workforce reporting for work.Given these facts, Curtis UK wants to keep you fully abreast of our situation to assist with your planning as follows:

  1. We continue to follow updates from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation and are adhering to all recommendations and restrictions.
  2. All departments in Northampton are fully staffed (in-office or remotely) and there are no UK business interruptions at this time.  However, our engineering facility in Livermore, California and our manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico are now closed on instruction from the United States Government.  This may have implications on some product lead times as we move forward and details will be provided in due course, as necessary.
  3. Our global team continues to monitor key suppliers and at this time we see no supply chain interruptions.
  4. Key personnel have the ability to work remotely with access to all our business systems as required. Curtis China is focusing on planning and logistics to ensure the continuity of our mutual supply chains.
  5. We have the ability to shift key products between our China and Bulgaria manufacturing sites if necessary.
  6. We recognise that this is a dynamic situation and Curtis is well-positioned globally to meet this challenge. We will continuously evaluate our supply position to help minimise any supply chain disruptions.

As this situation is rapidly evolving, we will continue to monitor it and update our email information as necessary.  Your partnership over the coming weeks and months is essential.  Please do the same and alert us of any product supply concerns at the earliest opportunity. 


If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your usual Curtis Customer Service Contact in the first instance.  Telephone lines continue to be busy.  Please make a note of all the contact options shown below:Curtis UK Sales Office - 01604 Clark - 01604 885260Sarah Clark Bethany Colbert - 01604 885267Bethany ColbertAnita Chapman, Sales Office Manager - 01604 885230Anita Chapman

Please remember, our warehouse is fully stocked, deliveries are still arriving, carriers are still collecting.  So if you need something, please call or email us.  For now, we're working the same way we do every day!

David Wilkes, Managing Director, Curtis (UK)

Latest Curtis AC Control Systems for Pallet Trucks, AGV’s and Robotics

Latest Curtis AC Control Systems for Pallet Trucks, AGV’s and Robotics

9bda2d4392b038282b2bbce9f204f709_f195.jpgThe latest addition to the Curtis AC speed controller family, the AC F2-A, provides a uniquely high specification packed with features and a big power rating - all at an exceptionally low price point.

This high performing smart design comes in a tough housing with a very small footprint, making it perfect for the harsh Class III Pallet Truck market.

ACF2-A Flexibility; fully optimised to perform either as a traction controller for 1.0 and 2.0 ton Class III powered pallet trucks, or as a traction or hydraulic pump controller on other types of battery powered vehicle.  The ACF2-A’s auto-characterisation allows simple on-c568cb6181850e5c12620defd9c3029a_f194.jpgtruck pairing with any Induction and SPM motor types.  Simply choose from a comprehensive library of induction motor types stored in the controller memory.

ACF2-A Safety; Exceeds global conformance requirements for EMC, functional and electrical safety, UL583 recognised and CE marked as a programmable safety device.

ACF2-A Durability; IP65 protection as per IEC60529 with 23-pin AMPseal I/O connector means its impervious to most oils, solvents, degreasers and other chemicals regularly encountered by industrial vehicles.

Highly flexible multi-function I/O and comprehensive CAN master capabilities means this low-cost, super capable controller is capable of acting as “CAN interpreter”, allowing different CAN protocols from a variety of devices to “talk” to each other easily on the same CAN network; this means engineers can work with their components of choice every time, eradicating the need for expensive and time-consuming modifications from a variety of manufacturers.

This same CAN master capability means the controller easily connects with typical battery management systems that come with lithium10e3cdf05b992e160ea45eac1c57c6f3_f196.jpg battery packs that are becoming increasingly popular due to their high energy/slow discharge/low maintenance functions.  Used together with Curtis’ very low-cost  3140 CANopen gauge, specifically designed for the Class III market, provides OEMs with a very low-cost, easy-to-read flexible display option with out-of-the-box integration capabilities.  This small, function-rich gauge also offers an optional in-built heater, so that it can reliably display operating information for vehicles used in freezers or other cold environments.


A detailed datasheet provides full specifications and wiring diagrams.

The new user-friendly Curtis Software Suite is a required element for customising any vehicle design incorporating the ACF2-A controller and 3140 display and will eventually replace the familiar 1313 and 1314 programming tools.  CSS provides new simplified ways to set up and work with the new devices, producing a vehicle that works exactly the way the OEM wants it to. VCL was already a fairly easy programming language to learn and the new CSS software with VCL2 makes integrating CANbus devices even easier giving OEMs the ultimate vehicle control system.

Curtis UK provides a full range of battery chargers for electric lift trucks that deliver superior levels of on and off-board reliability and charge quality.  Pallet Trucks and AGV’s are used in difficult settings where high levels of vibration, shock and temperature changes (including cold storage, wet conditions) are seen, so all our chargers (for lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries) are tested in these typical environments to ensure they provide a long and reliable service.

Some models provide bespoke charging for individual battery packs of major lift truck battery companies through the use of custom made charge profiles to give even better performance.

Curtis design and manufacture advanced integrated control systems for zero-emission electric vehicles.  Since our founding in 1960, we’ve been a leader in our field and, with 14 locations and 900 employees worldwide, have built a reputation for high quality, green technology.   Manufacturers worldwide choose Curtis products to make their vehicles the best they can be in areas as diverse as material handling (forklifts, pallet trucks), recreational (golf cars and off-road), aerial lifts (booms, scissor lifts), medical mobility (wheel/rehab chairs), airport (aircraft movers and tugs), automotive (Light-On-Road), and many more.  Watch our video to learn more.

Curtis UK was established in 1974 and is the largest European sales and service subsidiary of Curtis Instruments, Inc.  This large purpose built facility in Northampton provides the full range of control system technology as well as battery chargers.  To keep your operations safe, Curtis’ range of LED visual (and audible) safety warning devices help increase pedestrian awareness of approaching hazards.  Choices include a wide selection of coloured spots, arrows or safety zone LED lamps, flashing amber beacons, or a choice of alarms and horns, all designed to increase safety by using light or sound as a warning aid.






Though we’re global in scale, we pride ourselves in our local approach to customer support.  Our value added services include advanced customer support engineering, vehicle drive and control panel assembly, product testing, detailed project/prototype assistance and analysis.

To learn more, visit our UK website, or better still, give us a call on 01604 885201.  To research and download product datasheet and manuals, visit our comprehensive product pages at

Curtis AC Controllers drive Surface and Internal PMAC

Curtis AC Controllers drive Surface and Internal PMAC

smSE-Group.jpgCurtis AC Motor Controllers drive surface and internal PMAC and Induction Motors, from just about any manufacturer you choose

…. Kerry Green, Director of European Support Engineering at Curtis Instruments

For many years Curtis have been known for designing extremely reliable and versatile AC motor controllers.

These controllers are periodically updated to meet and exceed European Safety requirements and the E and SE Series models are now capable of running Synchronous and Asynchronous AC motors.  Their advanced vector control technology ensures that efficiency is optimised under all load conditions and temperatures.

Let’s look at the motor types, as this can be confusing.

Induction motors are Asynchronous.  This means that the rotating core of the motor, the rotor, runs faster or slower than the rotating AC magnetic field.  The rotating magnetic field induces current into the rotor and sets up the opposing magnetic field. The AC induction motor is extremely robust as its solid metal rotor has no electro-mechanical brush gear.  Fewer components and ease of manufacturing means lower cost.  That and the fact that they’re virtually indestructible, makes the induction motor a popular choice.  It’s so reliable that Tesla chose it for the original model S and it’s used on over 90% of industrial trucks.   But of course there’s always a trade-off, and with induction that’s a lower efficiency (up to base speed) and an increased size and weight.

Permanent magnet AC motors are Synchronous in that the rotating core of the motor turns at the same speed as the rotating cc2d0fb6f966daad9d7d3d75d9b615a3_f206.jpgmagnetic field. The rotor has magnets either on the surface of the rotor or embedded into the rotor.  These are known as Surface PMAC or Internal PMAC and both have different characteristics.  PMAC are highly efficient at base speed and are effective electric generators too.  Being smaller and lighter than induction makes them good for a variety of applications like AGV design or robotics.

Motors are designed to achieve peak power at a certain speed; the base speed of the motor.  At this point the motor is absorbing as much electrical power as possible.  To run the motor faster than base speed, a motor field has to be weakened electronically. The base speed is determined as part of the unique auto-characterisation process pioneered by Curtis at the turn of the century.


For an induction motor it’s simple to reduce a motor field and extend the motor speed, this is energy efficient and one reason Tesla used this motor technology. This is very useful for traction applications.  With a PMAC motor more energy is used to suppress the field of the permanent magnets. A Surface PMAC motor is less likely to be field weakened as the magnetic path is not as stable as an Internal PMAC motor. An Internal PMAC motor may be field weakened but extreme care has to be taken in order not to de-magnetise the magnets. This precise field weakening is determined by the motor model held within the controller.

PMAC motors offer higher efficiency up to the base speed and also make very efficient generators as no energy is used to produce the rotor field. The motors are also physically smaller than an induction motor, but the permanent magnets cost more.  So for certain applications where space saving and/or higher efficiency is needed, typically 5-10%, or for hybrid drive/generator applications PMAC motors are a good choice.

Curtis AC motor controllers use highly efficient vector control to maximise the performance of PMAC and Induction motors, that together with our flexible VCL application layer means you get maximum benefit for your money.

We work closely with a wide range of motor suppliers on many different types of application so you have full flexibility in your choice of motors. Contact our highly skilled applications team to discuss your projects and how Curtis AC motor controller technology will maximise performance.

Email Kerry for more information



Curtis UK kick off their anniversary celebrations with the help of a special guest

Curtis UK kick off their anniversary celebrations with the help of a special guest

2019 is a special year for Curtis UK.  It’s our 45th anniversary and, with ever increasing demand for our integrated systems and advanced electrification technology for vehicles and off-road machinery, we’re expanding. 

We decided to share this information with our local MP, Michael Ellis, who just so happens to be the Minister of State for Transport (so a bit more than a tenuous link!).  During a recent meeting with the US Ambassador, Woody Johnson, Mr Ellis described the importance of how economic ties between the UK and USA create prosperity and jobs, which just so happens to typify what we, at Curtis (UK) are doing right now.  As a result, an invitation to our Northampton base was offered to Mr Ellis and, to our delight, he accepted and visited last Friday.


We shared the news of our expansion plans, with the opening of a new UK Engineering Centre; a new Research & Development Engineering facility that will be located in the Newcastle / Sunderland area, a region that is rapidly developing into a high-technology hub.

The UKEC expands Curtis’ industry-leading position as an expert electrification partner to OEMs and EV system suppliers. The UKEC will also significantly strengthen Curtis’ ability to provide first-class systems engineering services to the major UK & European vehicle and mobile machinery manufacturers.

We think it’s fair to say that Mr Ellis enjoyed his visit to us and was pleased to see the innovation and new technologies we offer and how they play a vital role in the way we decarbonise our economy.

Learn more about the applications engineering opportunities available at the UKEC here.


Curtis Puerto Rico vs. Hurricane Maria

On September 20, 2017, Category 5 Hurricane “Maria” directly hit the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico with devastating force.

You are probably aware that our new factory in Puerto Rico, whilst only marginally affected, continues to struggle with the impact of devastation around the island.

The Curtis plant withstood the force of the storm, however a number of our employees and their families suffered great personal loss.  The island's people, homes and infrastructure will take a long time to recover. 

Curtis are providing support and aid of all types and are immensely grateful to our customers, whose cooperation, understanding, patience and support was instrumental in allowing Curtis to continue mitigating this situation.

Curtis have prepared and distributed a newsletter for all staff and customers served by our Puerto Rico facility to inform all about our Hurricane Maria recovery effort. 

Please click on the link below to learn more.


Vintage Narrowboat Goes Electric Thanks to Curtis

Reflecting its global leadership for electronic integrated systems and the flexibility and resources to support any size and type of enterprise, Curtis Instruments has recently completed a very pleasing project with a charity who wished to convert a 1938 Iron Narrow Boat to an environmentally friendly Electric drive.

The boat, Birdswood, named after the nearby Bird’s Wood railway bridge, was originally built as an engineless, cabinless butty in 1938 and worked around Birmingham towed by a horse or motor boat. It has an interesting hull made of Iron that is pointed at both ends to enable easy running in either direction.

Around 1955 the boat was modified and fitted with a cabin which allowed the boatman and his family to live on board to make longer journeys, all still without an engine. In 1995 the cabin was extended and a diesel hydraulic propulsion unit was added and the boat was used on the Caldon canal as a trip boat serving food. The unusual conversion was partly due to the pointed stern which does not easily permit a direct drive shaft through the centre point, so a small hydraulic motor was fitted into the rudder to which a propeller is attached. Hydraulic hoses run over the back of the boat to the hydraulic pump which was powered by the diesel engine.

In 2013 Birdswood was purchased by the charity, to work on the Cromford canal in the Derwent Valley world heritage site which is also a designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).  As such, zero emission propulsion was required and after evaluating different ideas it was decided that although the hydraulic drive would remain, the diesel engine would be replaced by a CFR Induction motor controlled by a Curtis Instruments 1238 Vector Controller.

48V 820Ah batteries were supplied and Curtis commissioned the system.  Interestingly, Curtis fitted Acuity, their battery monitoring system, to monitor the battery data, state of health, total power used and operating temperatures. 

Now, almost two years later, interesting and useful data is coming through from Acuity.  As the hydraulic system is very low pressure, Acuity proves the efficiency to be very good with the boat easily managing 4 pleasure cruises before an overnight recharge is needed. It was a great team collaboration which is what Curtis likes to promote with all customers and colleagues.


Needless to say, Kerry Green – European Support Manager at Curtis Instruments - became so involved with the project he has since joined the FCC and regularly volunteers with them, assisting with the maintenance and running of the 72ft long narrowboat and delivering historical commentaries on-board.  His interest in the historic canals and waterways of England has continued to grow, seeing him undertake and pass his MCA Boat masters exam in June 2017.  This Exam is quite intense and includes drills on man overboard recovery, fires and medical emergencies.  Passing this exam means Kerry is now able to Captain the Birdswood, taking 45 passengers on board at a time, up and down the beautiful Derwent Valley in Derbyshire, England. 

If anyone would like more information, would like to view the boat, take trip or volunteer for a day or more per month please contact the FCC via their web site as more volunteers are always welcome to assist with running this lovely boat.


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