Apeks Dive Computers

Apeks: scuba diving equipment manufacturer.



Apeks Marine Equipment is a manufacturer of scuba diving equipment based in Blackburn, England.
Inspired by technical diving and designed for all, the full range of Apeks dive equipment, which now includes regulators, bladders, drysuits, instruments and accessories, has been adopted by technical divers around the world.
Apeks equipment is used by several militaries and emergency services, including the Royal Navy.

History of APEKS

Conceived from the passion to create exceptional products for the evolving SCUBA market and a desire to do more than just deliver someone else’s vision, Apeks was born in 1974. Friends and former colleagues at a large engineering firm in the north of England, Ken Smith Ainscough and Eric Partington formed a partnership that was a perfect combination of vision and enthusiasm. The name they came up with was a perfect combination too – an acronym of their initials.

Technical genius, a lifelong love of diving and natural dynamism brought them together. Ken drafted, translated then engineered his concepts into reality. Eric’s entrepreneurial expertise and love of technology drove business growth. It was a match made in heaven.

Great things can grow from humble beginnings and Apeks was no exception. Fabricating weight belt buckles in Eric’s garage was where it began, but throughout the 1970s, Apeks continued to innovate. With new products being developed and a rich heritage of engineering in the local area, the business was able to hire specialist engineering talent, keeping manufacturing in-house to ensure the high quality the market had already come to expect.

Transitioning from a supplier of ancillary pieces to a serious SCUBA brand first came with Ken’s dive cylinder valves, before the pivotal launch of the Manta 5000 regulator in 1979. With Apeks now firmly on the SCUBA map, the business flourished during the 80s and 90s. It was during this time that the real love affair between technical divers and the brand began.

Another crucial time for Apeks came in 1995 when the TX50 regulator was recognized scientifically as the best regulator in the world. With features never seen before, the TX50 was the first regulator in the world accredited with the EN250 European standard for cold water performance, years before it became a legal requirement. With the TX50, Apeks continued to innovate and lead the market.

The family grew. Founded on the cornerstones of reliability, quality, and integrity, Eric and Ken had always fostered a culture of trust and a feeling of family. From the company’s early years, with only a handful of employees, this culture was nurtured. Many members of staff have worked for Apeks since the early years of the business. Even when employee numbers grew to over 160, the family-feel remained.

Moving into a purpose-built factory in 1995 was an exciting time for the company. The building set new standards with state-of-the-art manufacturing and test equipment. With the ANSTI breathing simulator, the team was able to finely tune regulators during the design phase to make sure that every detail was safe and reliable at depth. This, coupled with the trailblazing purpose-built indoor test pool, meant that valuable, scientific data was available all the way through the design and testing phases, before the kit was ever used in open water.

In 1995, the new facility had felt enormous but with the constant evolution and ever-increasing demand for products, the space was soon outgrown. Doubling the footprint in 1998, and then increasing it again in 2001, meant that the key philosophy of keeping control of all elements of the manufacturing process in-house remained possible.

The company’s design, development, manufacturing and production processes use the latest technology and state of the art equipment. Rigorous total quality control procedures comply with the highest standards under the European Quality Assurance System BS EN ISO 9001 ensuring Apeks’ quality which is the envy of others.

Apeks is the first diving manufacturer to have been awarded ISO 14001:2004 which is the standard confirming Apeks environmental credentials. We have always recognized the impact industry has on the environment and operate an Environmental Management System in accordance with ISO 14001:2004 to reduce energy use, minimize waste, and ensure that we operate beyond the requirements of all environmental legislation and regulation.

Apeks regulators have been tested by the world’s leading authorities on regulator performance and were, in fact, the first to pass EN 250 and be awarded the coveted CE mark. They consistently come at the top in independent performance tests throughout the world, reflecting the company’s commitment to investment in research and development.

Apeks designs, develops, tests, manufactures, and assembles products in its purpose-built factory in Blackburn. Controlling the manufacturing process from start to finish allows Apeks to offer a lifetime guarantee, reflecting the company’s confidence in the reliability of its manufactured equipment.

Apeks is on the approved defence contractors list for the supply of diving equipment to the armed forces. In addition to the wide range of products Apeks manufactures for the diving industry, they also manufacture for navies, including the British Navy, for the army, and also for emergency services such as coast guards, police forces, and fire services. For example, Apeks was involved in the design and manufacture of the Dual mode mask and supply valves and regulators for current in-service mine countermeasures.

Fast forward to 2014 and Apeks leads the industry’s efforts in fighting climate change by becoming the first solar-powered regulator manufacturing plant in the world and developing better, more environmentally conscious ways of making products.

Expanding the Apeks product range to include everything from drysuits to computers has given divers around the world a greater choice of equipment that they can trust. During the 21st Century, Apeks has continued to fill the growing demand for dive equipment with continuous development. The range has evolved, regulators have got more advanced, dive lights are brighter with the introduction of LED technology and new lines have been added.

And Apeks will continue to evolve. It’s what they do and who they are. Reliable, proven, rugged, safe. Trusted by divers across the world.

Historical Timeline

  • 1974 | Apeks was created by two friends, Ken Smith Ainscough and Eric Partington. They used the first letters of their names – K, S, A, E, P to create the company name APEKS.
  • 1976 | When Ken and Eric realized that they couldn’t purchase dive products at a quality they wanted, they decided to make their own and created the company’s first range of valves for dive cylinders and buoyancy jackets.
  • 1979 | The Manta, the company’s first scuba diving regulator was launched. Each regulator had a hand-painted logo.
  • 1995 | Apeks launched the TX, the first regulator in the world to pass the safety requirements needed for CE certification.
  • 1997 | The Aqua Lung group acquired Apeks. This allowed the company to grow into a truly global brand, and it began to make a full range of diving equipment.
  • 2006 | Apeks became Norsok Standard U-101 accredited. This accreditation was a demanding standard that had been devised for equipment used by commercial divers in the petroleum industry. The regulators were tested to 200m using a Heliox gas blend.
  • 2009 | The company achieved ISO:14001 certification at its UK manufacturing plant for its commitment to managing and reducing its impact on the environment.
  • 2012 | Apeks was the first dive brand in the world to achieve, and then exceed, the EN250A safety standard for scuba breathing equipment.
  • 2014 | Apeks installed a solar array on the roof of its UK manufacturing facility, which meant Apeks regulators could be made using renewable energy. It also meant the company could charge its electric company cars, and in the summer, it generated enough power to supply other local homes and businesses, too.
  • 2016 | After years of research into creating the ultimate cold water regulator, Apeks launched the MTX-R, the world’s first regulator to have an unfreezable first stage.
  • 2018 | As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing its environmental impact, the company introduced a zero waste to landfill policy at its UK factory.
  • 2019 | Apeks committed to removing single-use plastic from all of its packaging.
  • 2021 | Apeks ThermiQ 8/7 wetsuit was launched. Limestone neoprene, linings made from recycled plastic bottles, and water-based glues make it one of the most eco-conscious wetsuits on the market.
  • 2022 | The Ocea, the world’s first regulator to be made from recycled and renewable resources, was launched by Apeks.
  • 2023 | Barings, Aqualung’s principal lender, takes over the company after Aqualung failed at paying its debts.
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