26th March 1997 Prefect Controls Ltd. is Incorporated
May 1997 Prefect introduce the first two stage tamperproof thermostat - PRE5000
May 1997 A new range of lighting controls is added to the Prefect Controls offering
June 1997 Prefect purchases Croft Controls together with the MBS technology
January 1998 Prefect launch the first standalone MBS heating control system - PRE4000
March 1999 The new three stage touch and PIR thermostats are introduced - PRE5003 and PRE5203
November 2002 Prefect launch new computer-controlled MBS System PRE2000
January 2014 PRE2000 is re-branded Prefect IRUS
May 2014 Prefect introduce new Atlantic slave heater range
August 2014 The launch of the first hob-timer - PRE9275
August 2015 Prefect develop the PRE2000 Mk2 central control unit
January 2015 The all-new Ecostat range of tamperproof thermostats is launched
July 2017 The IRUS Control Unit is updated with inbuilt PIR - PRE2000CU3
August 2018 The hob-timer range is broadened with the PRE9277 - 40Amp, two gang, horizontal or vertical units. Hobsafe is the new brand name
January 2018 The Ecostat range is upgraded to become Lot20 compliant - Ecostat2
January 2018 The first Ecostat2 Lot20 compliant energy lock heaters are delivered
November 2018 The list of features for IRUS grows to include leak detection
July 2019 IRUS hot water monitoring Sentinels are introduced - PRE2000SEN
October 2019 Prefect IRUS is added to the Energy Technology List (ETL) making it 100% tax deductable
January 2020 Prefect launches new single gang Hobsafe - PRE9276
Prefect Controls Ltd.
Formed in 1997. Our goal was to design and make clever, but simple energy controls that fulfilled the commercial needs of the building operator while providing fixed control access for the occupant.
Back in 1997 Prefect’s target market was centred around commercial providers of rooms, student accommodation, hotels etc, where the excessive use of heating energy by guests, who were not subject to the direct cost, was a real problem.
To us the market requirement was clear, a range of controls that would provide access to control for the guest, while behind the scenes the business owner had overall control of the temperature and time set-points.
This strategy of identifying the need of both guest and business owner has enabled Prefect Design Engineers to develop a full range of space heating controls from standalone (local control) to fully centralised control.
Throughout this process, keeping to our original brief – “Clever but simple” – has always been at the forefront of our minds – from the design process through system installation and on to end user operation.
Our products are the ideal solution for owners and managers of accommodation in multi-dwelling buildings, but where the occupants are not paying the energy bills directly.
Student accommodation, hotels, leisure parks and hostels – to name a few.
Our Irus and Ecostat2 heating controls ensure guest’s comfort, but not at the expense of rooms being heated when unoccupied.
Hobsafe keeps kitchens safer, by making sure that hobs cannot be left on while unattended. They are fitted in thousands of communal kitchens and in those of people living with conditions such as dementia, providing peace of mind to their families and carers.
Our range of sensors light-up areas where people are active or where security is a concern but save energy when illumination isn’t required.
Prefect’s products are found wherever a cleverly simple control of energy is needed.
All Prefect products are designed and manufactured in the UK. Our head office houses our research and development facility where products are conceived, trialled and tested. Our team modify, maintain and dispatch our products from our workshops and warehousing in Sudbury, Suffolk.
Making Prefect products perfect
The quality assurance process
It is testament to the quality of Prefect Controls products that in the last couple of years the company has been commissioned to upgrade sites with new generation control systems, where a Prefect product had been installed 15 years previously.
Long life span.
A case in point – 1600 controllers removed from a site – all of which were in full working order. It was the development of new features and performance efficiencies that prompted the upgrade. Due to vulnerable positioning and harsh existence, the heater panels are more likely to require replacement than the controllers. This is what signalled, to Energy Managers, the need for a new system.
People, equipment and processes – certified and examined.
Prefect has a rigorous quality control programme throughout the design, development and production of its products. The manufacturing facility’s Quality Management System (QMS) is certified to ISO9001:2015 and all staff are fully trained as Certified IPC Specialists (IPC-A-610, IPC J-STD-001 and IPC/WHMA-A-620).
Quality is critical to Prefect’s success, it underpins all manufacturing processes, from accuracy of assembly and efficient use of time to minimal wastage of materials.
Continual investment in sector leading equipment, technology and processes – coupled with commendable staff–loyalty and retention – forges an outstanding facility that manufactures robust, reliable yet cost-effective products.
The manufacturing procedure.
All components are stored in controlled, secure conditions. The stock management software maintains supplies that are drawn down when production requirements are logged on the Bill of Manufacture (BOM).
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are produced on site using the ASM Horizon 03iX Stencil Printer with camera fiducial alignment.
Components are placed on the PCB using a double armed Panasonic CM101-D Pick and Place machine before progressing to and through the Heller Reflow Oven which has a total of 18 heated zones (9 top and 9 bottom). This is where solder is heated, and components are secured.
The Trident ZDO PCB cleaning machine removes any manufacturing residues.
Any components that fall outside the capability of automated placement are hand–fixed by the soldering team.
Inspection. Inspection. Inspection!
Each and every circuit board is scrutinised by eye before going through the Automated Optical Inspection (AOI). A ‘perfect example’ is scanned by the MEK PowerSpektor GTAz+GDAz 550BTL and ‘memorised’ for comparison purposes.
The AOI has top–down/bottom–up cameras and is fitted with 8 digital eyes for side and edge scanning, enabling simultaneous double–sided inspection. Omnidirectional multi–colour LED lighting has the capability to test a range of criteria on all types of solder joints.
Every PCB passes through the AOI and is compared, photographically, with the ‘perfect example’. Any faults are flagged and rejected from the batch for rectification.
The PCBs are then placed on purpose-built Prefect test rigs, powered up and examined to ensure they are fully functional.
After testing PCBs are coupled with their chassis, assembled, and where necessary, fascia overlays are applied. The units are then boxed ready for dispatch.
Prefect proudly boast a 99.5% on–site performance record. Likewise, 99% of ‘faulty’ controls are returned to site, following testing, for re-installation – fully functioning!
Our Testing Department data reveals the most common reason for a product being returned, is that the setting of the PIR or run times have been programmed incorrectly on–site.
The robust design, meticulous production process and rigorous testing procedures means Prefect is confident in supplying all products with a 5–year warranty, and the assurance that it will probably be another 15 years before replacement is necessary!
Senior Project Manager
Electronics Bench Technician