The SME team from WMG, at the University of Warwick, have been working with Birmingham-based Barkley Plastics for the past year in a collaboration which has led to increased turnover for Barkley Plastics of over half a million pounds and the creation of three new jobs.
The WMG team are based in The International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI), a building funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and University of Warwick that is dedicated for the use of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the West Midlands region. Their in house Innovation Programme aims to encourage SMEs in understanding how new technology, processes and ideas can be implemented to develop new products and services to benefit their business. Companies can access three areas of support: Experience Led Innovation, Polymer Innovation and Digital Innovation.
Established in 1965, Barkley Plastics has a long and successful history, offering moulding solutions to a range of sectors including automotive, medical and retail. Having survived the recession, they were keen to look at ways that they could kick start growth again for the company. Recognising, the importance of working strategically with WMG as a means to help them access new research and technology and diversify into new markets, they were able to benefit from the ERDF funded Innovation Programme, accessing a range of expertise. Through the Programme, the company has used optical microscopy testing to assess the validity of its patented in mould welding, used Additive Layer Manufacturing facilities to create prototypes for a revolutionary finger-held razor and medical devices, load tested a new Step Stool project and investigated a new process of manufacturing interior trim components for Bentley Motors.
Maurice Cassidy, Technical Director at Barkley Plastics said:
“It is imperative that firms today continuously evolve and innovate. Access to support and equipment has been invaluable to us on our journey to create new and exciting products for our clients. Other companies in the region should look at what is possible in the new facility. It has worked extremely well for us.”
Dr Mark Swift, Head of SME Programmes at WMG comments:
“The success of the partnership with Barkley Plastics highlights the great potential we have to help companies grow. We are delighted that our research capabilities can be applied to help industry, particularly manufacturers in the West Midlands.”
The Innovation Programme is available to businesses in the West Midlands with less than 250 employees and less than a €50 million turnover. Regular workshops covering the latest technology in materials and prototyping, internet based digital tools and people centred innovation are held each month. By attending the workshops, businesses will get the opportunity to secure further funded support to work on a project to develop a new or existing product and service.
To register to attend workshops please visit www.wmgsme.eventbrite.com