A high-tech firm in a very rural location has just agreed a new distribution deal . . . in Japan.

Freeman Technology makes a patented powder measuring device for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The small, but rapidly growing company, has its design and manufacturing centre at Boulters Farm, Castlemorton Common, Welland, in a range of converted outbuildings.

It was here that it develped its FT powder rheometer, which is in use by multi-national companies around the world.

The new deal gives the Japanese Sysmex Corporation - a world leader in analytical instrumentation - exclusive rights to distribute the latest FT4 rheometer in Japan.

Managing director Reg Freeman said this would provide the Welland firm with the income to expand, with plans for offices in the US, Germany and Japan in the future.

"We'll keep our design and software work here in Welland but if we keep on growing, the assembly of the instruments may move to the Malvern Science Park," he said.

"We're very lucky to have our high-tech team based here in such a beautiful spot."

The FT4 rheometer measures and analyses the flow rates of powders and has the potential to improve quality and productivity for all kinds of companies. Many manufacturers use materials in powder form, from the paint used by car manufacturers to cosmetics, printer cartridges, food industry and ceramics.

Mitsuru Watanabe, vice-president of new business development at the Sysmex Corporation, said the rheometer was a promising product and Sysmex would raise awareness of its potential in Japan.

Mr Freeman said the Japanese deal was good for the Welland firm because of the markets it would open up.

"We've recently expanded our premises in Welland and we're enlarging our sales and support team and expanding our R&D work," he said.

Freeman Technology was started in 1989 and has won awards from the Department of Trade and Industry for innovation.