The history of Ferranti dates back to Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti (1864-1930): an electrical engineer and inventor who played a decisive role in the worldwide adoption of Alternating Current (AC).
He founded the company Ferranti in 1882 and developed it into a multinational electrical engineering and equipment firm. Among its product were transformers, electricity meters and radios.
In the 1940s, Ferranti started to focus on computer systems. In 1948 Ferranti commercialized the computer system, in cooperation with the University of Manchester. The device could perform some 400 multiplications per second. The first machine was delivered to Manchester University in February 1951. (Just ahead of the UNIVAC I, which was the first commercial computer produced in the United States.)
The computer technology was gradually refined and by the 60s, Ferranti delivered the world’s first Direct Digital Control system for an industrial plant. This technology was further developed to be used in power plants.
In the next decades, Ferranti International increased its worldwide footprint and in 1976 Ferranti Belgium was founded in Antwerp. Ferranti Belgium was focused on system integration, with a focus towards the utilities market.
In 1994, the international holding was dissolved. Ferranti Belgium was acquired by Nijkerk Group, a leading industrial information technology group, founded in 1959 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
As of today, most other branches of the former Ferranti International holding have been dissolved, renamed or absorbed into other companies. Ferranti Belgium, however, has thrived as a part of the Nijkerk Group. Since 1994, it expanded its offering of IT infrastructure, SCADA systems and System Integration towards software products for energy and utilities companies (MECOMS™) public safety (FrontForce®).
After more than 125 years, the legacy of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti lives on in our relentless focus on technical excellence and our strong offering for the energy and utilities vertical.