Twenty-five years after founding Universal Finishing Systems, retiring managing director Derek Whittle has handed control to son Kevin.

An engineer with roots in the timber industry, Derek Whittle set up Universal to supply sawmilling equipment while developing a vacuum coating concept. Universal has since designed and manufactured integrated modular sanding, coating and drying systems for clients which include the UK’s leading MDF moulding manufacturers – and an ever growing number of countries worldwide. Exports now account for 50-70% of Universal’s annual turnover.

Kevin Whittle joined the company in 1997.