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Innovation-Direct provided practical help with the design and innovation activities of manufacturing SMEs based in the West Midlands Objective 2 area. The project supported both established companies and start-ups in their quest to identify new markets, develop new products, improve existing products and/or use new materials and manufacturing methods. The project used concurrent engineering team based methods where market, product design, method of manufacture and business aspects is considered holistically. Companies were best engaged at the early stages of design and innovation when change is easier and before ideas are firm. Expertise and knowledge were provided by the teams (Warwick University (WMG) and at Wolverhampton University), relevant university experts drawing on research projects and external sources such as suppliers and process experts.

  • Over the course of the 6 years, interventions were initiated with 588 companies resulting in a total of 473 assists comprising 252 business assists and 221 business start ups.


Noteworthy Achievements

During the course of the project certain achievements stand out as noteworthy:

Product launches resulting from assists:

¨Teal Patents – Four new products: Tealwash, Handeman, Compact and Hygenius producing a combined sales value at August 2008 of £4.9million.

¨A new simplified continuously variable gas fire valve for Peerless making an impact in the marketplace and winning two major awards - New Control of The Year 2007 and Best Supporting Product of the Year 2007 – and with sales to date of £300k

¨Medical biosensor for Sarissa, a University spin-off, launched in 2005 with sales of over £150k

¨Freedom Enterprises trailer for mobility scooters,

¨Cuxon and Gerrards redesigned bunion guard,

¨Dual Glow Technologies glow in the dark torch

¨Glow place mat for Lydo Innovations,

¨Q Leap’s beach safe and ashtray for sunbathers

¨Soccer Buddy International’s football mannequins which are now being bought by Premier League football clubs for training purposes with sales to date of £300k

¨Laplocks security alarm specifically for laptops

¨Fibre Transmissions new control unit

¨J C Payne’s improvements to trailer design

¨Sack truck for Ashby

¨Tow bar mounted platform for BakRak

¨Medical hooks for John Edwards

¨Mobile bar unit for Babs (Concepts)

¨Firstpress (Plastics Moulders) fishing box

¨Tweezers for Ellisons

¨Camera casing for Bubb and Co Wooden Boxes

¨Air conveyor belt for Botsman

¨Medical device for Whether it Hurts

¨Baby spoon for Neil Murphy

¨Pin safety device for Secure Access Solutions

¨Fishing tackle for Fishermans Friend

¨Guitar Training Device for Appolo Learning

¨Wheel barrow for 3 Way Pressings

¨Lorry strap winder for Thickett

¨Fitness equipment markets for Exten

¨Stabilisation device for Ladder Safe

¨Computer security device for Tempus Computers

¨Football training system for Sports Systems

¨Precision cutter for optical cables for Oxford Fibre

¨Baby powder measuring device for Ian Beasley

¨Magnalock for Magnaforce UK

¨Chocolate mouse trap for Brandenburg Ltd

¨Assembly mechanism for Lite-scene

¨Nail polish bottle for Marco Benito

¨Plectrum for Picadore Guitar Plectrums

¨PU encapsulated chain for Henry Squires & Sons Ltd

¨Filter neck for TTL Plastics Ltd

¨Trailer for Snipe Trailers

¨Bottle opener for Ivan Brookes

¨Plectrum holder for Zen Grip

¨Partition bracket for Maxwood

¨Angling equipment for Task Precision


Companies with promising products, yet to be launched

¨Metrosens ferrous detectors for MRI rooms

¨Linden Shield’s safety control valves for gas supplies

¨Wireless tyre pressure sensor from Piezotag

¨Blood checking equipment for Sekatech

¨Scooter security device for Freedom Enterprises

¨Walking aid (Rollator) for Lazarus Mobility

¨CCTV attachment for Triplevision

¨Builders bucket trug for Blackwell

¨Fishing tackle for Kudos

¨Cable stripper for Martin Barrett

¨Remote crop moisture sensor for McBurney Scientific

¨RTA neck brace for Matthew Cooke, a university spin-off.

¨Flat speaker for Warwick Audio Technologies, a university spin-off.

¨Wood/polymer extrusions for Styrowood Ltd

A selection of case studies relating to the above are available at request

KTPs were initiated with Teal Patents and J C Payne

 Winning product awards and the Lord Stafford Living for Innovation Award in November 2004