A company history

Dagnall Electronics factory in BedfordDagnall Electronics began manufacturing transformers in 1946. In 1966 we began supplying transformers to a small local company, called Marshall Amplification, a relationship that continues to this day. Visitors may recall the converted dance hall, with tacked on sheds, and outhouses, that could at best be referred to as quaint, which was the Dagnall factory in Cranfield for many years.

In 1994 Dagnall was joined by Clairtronic, as part of a group of companies specialising in transformers and wound components. Where Dagnall concentrated on high volume custom built parts, Clairtronic was an off the shelf, next day delivery, standard range company. In 1996 a third company joined the group. MGC Electronics in Malta was set up to compete with the high volume low cost factories in the Far East. Malta has several advantages including a well educated English speaking population, European time zone and quick shipping.

Over the next few years, Dagnall moved to a new factory in Bedford, and production gradually transferred to MGC, which freed up enough space for Clairtronic to move into the same premises. Eventually all production was moved to Malta, with the UK providing sales, design, accounts and warehousing. In 2007 the group of companies was sold and continued for two years, until the new owners closed it down in 2009, resulting in nearly 80 redundancies across the group.

A personal history

designerHaving left school, and spending a year at an engineering college, I joined Drake Transformers as an apprentice. It was intended that I joined the power supplies division, as I already had an interest in electronics as a hobby, so I spent five years at college studying electronics.

During that time I spent time in every department, winding, laminating, assembling, testing and varnishing transformers, and building power supplies.
Prior to entering the power supplies design department, I was working in the transformer design office, when fate stepped in, and the other designer was taken ill, and took early retirement. Consequently I remained in the transformer design department.

During this period I wrote one of the first transformer design programs for the PC

In 1997 I joined Dagnall Electronics, where I became the Engineering Manager. I had technicians and engineers in the UK and Malta reporting to me, with regular visits to Malta. During one of these I was introduced to Josie Catania, the owner of a local company, TRX Electronics that supplied looms and prepared cables to MGC. He also had some toroidal winding machines, and as this was something the group didn't manufacture, he was able to supply us with too. Of course this all fell apart in 2009, when Dagnall and the group were closed.

Up to date

UK flag Malta flagFinding myself an unemployed transformer designer, I became a self employed transformer designer, trading under the name of 29 by ONE. One of several companies I spoke to was TRX, who did need someone to design toroidals for them. However those talks rapidly escalated, when we formulated a plan.

The Dagnall manufacturing plant was still inside a factory in Malta, and the production staff were looking for work. Cutting a very long story short, TRX were able to obtain the equipment and staff needed to allow production to continue. We made a decision to concentrate on certain product ranges, favouring the specialist audio transformers to the standard ranges.

Essentially we were Dagnall in all but name. An Ex Dagnall designer in the UK and Ex Dagnall production staff using Ex Dagnall manufacturing plant. That changed when I was able to register both the company name and the domain. Dagnall was back! With the audio manufacturing established, we have widened our scope, and can supply the vast majority of the products Dagnall or Clairtronic sold. Certain parts that carried International Approvals are still offered, but without the approvals, as they are not transferable. We now have customers across Europe, Australia, Russia and the USA.

It would be easy to pretend we were the same company with over 60 years of history, but we are not. Deceiving our customers wouldn't be a good start to the business relationship. We have found in practice that customers are quite happy with the arrangement.

We probably manufacture and supply more audio transformers across Europe than anyone else, and we are justifiably proud to supply one of the biggest names in the business.

Continuing the relationship that began in 1966, we work very closely with Marshall Amplification, whom I would like to thank for their support and faith in us during the transition.

Graham Sopp