After all, it is the shared efforts of SMEs, universities, and the large corporates of the world that drive the change that can truly benefit peoples’ lives.
This is particularly true for sectors that require investment and unique expertise, such as the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. That is why, back in January 2017, CPI launched the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries Innovation Support Programme (CSP): a project to provide innovation support to SMEs, academic spin-out companies, and research groups that operate within the industry.
The programme draws on one of CPI’s most insightful business tools: the Innovation Integrator®. The registered model is based upon the experience CPI has gained over the last 14 years in supporting its clients.
The model allows businesses to validate and establish robust strategies by highlighting product, process and technology gaps that must be addressed to enable progress from invention to commercialisation.
Bignall Group is an engineering company, based in Shildon, County Durham
Established over 40-years-old, Bignall Group is still a family business and an SME. Thus, when a crucial project came to a standstill, the group was eligible to receive support from the CSP programme.
Plus, as a fellow innovation manufacturer based in the North-East of England, such a partnership would further contribute to the collaborative and enterprising atmosphere of the region.
At the time of reaching out to CPI, the company was having trouble sealing a new series of distribution blocks. This is a hydraulic device that distributes lubricant from one source in metered amounts to a number of bearings.
The sealing method that Bignall Group’s engineers were using proved ineffective, resulting in significant delays leading up to the product’s launch date.
On top of this, the company had difficulties in contacting the big suppliers of industrial sealers to secure a replacement. Without the right networking contacts, each potential partnership failed.
How CPI helped
The company reached out to CPI and soon became a CSP partner. Innovation experts at CPI analysed the situation through the Innovation Integrator and used CPI’s extensive contacts to get the project moving again.
“It was the ability to break through that distributor network ceiling and get to the people who really want to know the manufacturer,” said Director John Bignall.
“That was pivotal in making this design work.”
CPI introduced representatives of Bignall Group to technical contacts at Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) who specialise in advanced industrial machining and materials. After exploring various options, it was researchers at the AMRC and CPI who identified a particular bonding technology as Bignall’s solution.
Thanks to the AMRC’s reputation and contacts, a meeting was set up between a supplier and Bignall representatives. It proved a great success. Bignall representatives could finally explain the particulars of their problem to sealant suppliers, which meant the suppliers could identify the right structural bonding product that would do the job.
“Small companies need somebody to share the risk with them sometimes, in order to make an innovation. It gives you the confidence to have a go,” added Mr Bignall.
Not only was the distribution block issue now solved, but the new sealant also opened up new possibilities for manufacture.
While the details are still being explored, the sealant is currently being incorporated into a new Bignall project and a patent has been applied for.
Integrating with CPI
These case studies demonstrate how CPI can provide support and resources to companies at any stage of development.
CPI enables companies to understand the innovation gaps in their business to accelerate product or process commercialisation.
Bignall Group has been serving designers and engineers for more than 40 years, but found itself isolated when in need of assistance. It was only thanks to CPI and its Innovation Integrator that contacts could be put together and progress made.
Let’s innovate together
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