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K P Technology Ltd - A New Leading Science & Technology Company
Based In Wick

K P Technology In Wick
A New Company With A Great Future
KP Technology was set up by Prof. Iain Baikie to market surface analysis technologies, including the Kelvin probe which he has developed during his research career. This instrument can detect minute changes in the composition of the top layers of materials and has application in a diverse range of manufacturing and research activities including semiconductor wafer manufacture, solar cells, fuel cells, gas and optical sensors, and development of nano-engineered materials.

KP Technology manufactures a range of Kelvin probe, which operate in both air and vacuum conditions. Recent clients include Honeywell Space, Florida, UAS, Delft University, The Netherlands and Jilin University China.  The worldwide market in the area is global and systems production is constantly increasing.  Recently Iain returned from a system installation at the Materials Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio. This is the airfield where the Wright brothers developed their first aeroplane and currently where now state-of-the-art investigations in materials for military, commercial and Space Flight applications are developed.

Iain Baikie is assisted in the tasks by Elena Koponen-Baikie, also a software engineer, who also acts as Company secretary.

A Young Dynamic Team Of Scientists
Iain Baikie has experience in research and teaching and has pointed K P Technology in part towards developing new ideas. To that end KP Technology hosts several research projects.   Iain is determined to move the business forward with new and innovative ideas he has been thinking about for some years.

Craig Allan - Helping To Make The Ideas Commercial
Craig Allan, a software engineer at KP Technology is currently developing a computer interface to allow remote control and monitoring of peripheral transducers, including commercial pressure sensors and assists in development and Marketing of the Kelvin probe range.
 He was employed through the Graduate Placement Program, which is run by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise. Craig graduated last July from The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen with a BSc (Hons) in Business Computing.  Craig’s role at KP Technology is to maintain and develop the company websites, as well as developing commercial software products. His current project involves the development of software to interface, communicate and report data from a Duel Convection Gauge Controller, which is manufactured by the American company Duniway Stockroom Corp.

Esther Rodriguez
A New Approach To Particle Research

Esther Rodriguez recently started a PhD in the materials evaluation of Dounreay spent fuel particles. This project is a follow-on study from the initial research presentations Prof. Baikie made at the recent meeting of the Materials Research Society in San Francisco in April.  Esther's 3 year project is sponsored by UKAEA, Dounreay and is in collaboration with Sheffield University.    Esther has a background in Chemistry. She has a BSc in Chemistry and MBA.  She worked previously in Pharmaceutical industry being in charged of the analytical facilities.

Richard Shanks -
Searching For Alternative Energy
Storage Answers In Northern Scotland

Richard Shanks will shortly commence his honours year in Physics at Strathclyde University where he is studying a MSci in physics. As part of his course he will be undertaking an industrial summer project at KP Technology in Wick.  His project will involve the research of alternative energy possibilities in the North of Scotland and feasible ways of storing it. This entails measuring the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells at Wick latitude and investigating the utilisation of fuel-cell (hydrogen) based energy storage approaches. Richard hopes to compare the relative benefits of small-scale wind-turbine energy and solar energy schemes for peripheral areas.    The main focus of his project is the comparison of solar energy and wind energy to verify which method is the most suited to the North of Scotland. As both solar energy and wind energy do not provide a constant source of power, Richard will also investigate the most feasible means of storing the energy for future use. This will involve the comparison of a hydrogen fuel cell against that of battery storage.

Claire McKeown
A Scientist In The Makiing - Awarded A Nuffield Bursary
Still At Thurso High School And Working On Solar Cells and Potential New Storage Systems

Claire McKeown is going into fifth year at Thurso High School. She is spending the summer at KP Technology, Wick, working on a science project for the Nuffield Bursary Scheme, under the supervision of Professor Iain Baikie.   Claire is working with Richard Shanks on the project covering the use of solar cells to obtain energy and the storage of this energy using a hydrogen fuel cell.  She will present her project report in Edinburgh in August.

What Does K P Technology Do?

  • Business manufactures high tech equipment used in the materials testing field by state-of-the-art research laboratories in industry and academia. The technique is called the Kelvin probe after Lord Kelvin; it measures the energy of the surface of a material just underneath a vibrating tip. The tip is scanned across the material to form a two-dimensional energy profile of the surface. It is sensitive to the topmost atoms of the surface. Prof. Baikie has spent the last 23 years developing this technique at research laboratories in Europe and the US.

  • The company uses the Kelvin probe to examine materials for third parties, e.g., corrosion for the Ford Motor Company, hard-disk materials for Seagate Inc, semiconductor wafers for Bosch Gmbh.

  • K P Technology have their own R&D activities under our SMART 2003 award. "This will allow us to develop and patent a 5th generation 'Intelligent tip' Kelvin probe."

  • Prof. Baikie has over a decade experience in supervision of BSc, MSc and PhD students and is currently lead supervisor in a collaboration on the lifetime of the Dounreay spent fuel particles in collaboration with UKAEA Dounreay and Sheffield University.

  • K P Technology also assist in running the Caithness Science Festival and summer student projects.

Why Wick?
Iain Baikie said “I was born in Wick 1960, in my opinion it has a high quality of life for my family and myself.  KP technology is a platform to utilise my and my wife's skills in a team and still realise educational and research goals.  Caithness has excellent primary schools, good social life and a good local support structure. The area is remote but beautiful, especially to myself whose serious hobby is sea kayaking (I am also chairman of the local kayak club).  Our business has relatively low-start-up costs compared with other areas.  CASE has a very healthy attitude to supporting new businesses and location is not an issue in a highly specialised field, rather scientific reputation is more relevant.  Wick has an excellent recruitment base with great potential for recruiting highly qualified personnel.”

Hopes For The Future
Iain Baikie will develop the business aiming to become a major producer of Kelvin probes in the world.  To develop the instrument so as to explore research areas currently underdeveloped (including bio-technology). A major part of the company philosophy is to initiate a research and development culture in Wick and to develop a very high quality educational base.  He hopes to encourage the youth, together with local and national politicians, to support or participate in science, education and enterprise!

More Information
Information on Kelvin Probes and KP Technology can be obtained from the web sites run by the business
Earlier About KP Technology On Caithness.org

Lewis Macdonald Visits K P Technology
Lewis Macdonald, Deputy Enterprise Minister was impressed by cutting edge technology when he visited KP Technology during a tour of Wick.  The visit was organised by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise to show Mr Macdonald the potential for science based businesses in Wick.

Lewis Macdonald - right was joined by David Flear area convenor and Sandra McCaughey from Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise to be shown round by Iain Baikie

Along with spending time at KP, the Minister spent a productive morning in the town getting a taste of the companies, projects and people which are working together to take the local economy forward.

Mr Macdonald said: “I was delighted to be able to see at first hand the good work that is taking place in Wick.

“It was extremely useful to hear about the progress that is being made by companies, regeneration projects and educational establishments. I was impressed by the commitment and determination of the people I met. Working together, I have no doubt they can secure a bright economic future for Wick.”

Iain Baikie Explains Some Of His Research To Lewis Macdonald

At KP Technology – a company at the cutting-edge in its field which is run by local man Prof Iain Baikie – Mr Macdonald learnt about the manufacture of highly specialised Kelvin Probes, which are sold to a worldwide market.

The tour also took the Minister to North Highland College’s base in Wick, where he spent time talking with students and teachers.

Impressive work being done to regenerate the Pultneytown area was a further encouraging element of Mr Macdonald’s visit to the area.

“The innovative work being done at KP Technology is exactly the type of business which will help ensure Wick can look to the future with optimism,” Mr Macdonald said.

“It was a fascinating visit and Prof Baikie’s decision to return to Wick as a base for this world leading company is to be welcomed.

“Visiting the college introduced me to people – both young and old – upon whom the future of the town will rest. As a result I was delighted to hear of their commitment to the area and their desire to remain in Wick and help take it towards a prosperous future.”

 Professor Iain Baikie With His Dynamic Young Team