Peter Richards joined EFS as part of the 2009 cohort whilst in his final year studying mechanical engineering. Ever since he was small, he had always dreamed of running his own car manufacturing business. When starting a degree, most people set themselves a target of completing their degree, Peter set himself the target of starting his own engineering and car manufacturing business before leaving university. Read more.

When Phil Lynch undertook to study to become an Illustrator, he knew that his only real career option was to be self-employed. He initially approached the SPEED WM programme for advice and help with the practical side of setting up a business. He got this assistance but says that “I also found that my mentors, Sarah Taylor and Gary Lennon, encouraged me to think much more creatively about the future and sustainability of my business and how it could develop. SPEED WM mentoring has helped me look at the possibilities and potential of my future business that would help it grow.” Read more.

SPEED Programme: Paul Power, Deadly Graphics. Read more.

KITTS Programme: Sean Bird, Steve Campbell, Debut Create. Read more.

KTP Programme: Matt Isted, WOW stuff. Read more.

Exhibitions: Clothes Show Live 2009 Student Collection ‘A Way Ahead’ - Rebecca Forster, Rachael Falkner, Marie Elwell & Chris Cove. Read more.

Seeking new experiences and challenges, I also hope that my work does its best to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf communities - using sign language through song as that bridge. Sign song is on the rise and not only is it a brilliant way to learn to sign language but it is also a wonderful channel of expression for those whose preferred language is sign. Read more.

Void Physical Theatre was established in 2007. After graduating from the University of Wolverhampton Paul Atkins, Rebecca Ball, Adam Day and James Latham made the decision to set up their own theatre company that specialised in the physical theatre genre in which they studied and had a great passion for. The company is a Limited Liability Partnership and all partners run a certain sector within the business. James Latham is the Company Director, Rebecca Ball manages the Education sector, Paul Atkins is the Marketing Manager and Adam Day runs Production. Read more.

Peter Marezana began the programme with an enthusiastic and ambitious attitude and a keen desire to develop his business Excelsior Events, as part of the SPEEDWM programme. A clear obstacle for Excelsior Events is the availability of capital. Event management requires significant outlays and as Peter explains, ‘finance remains paramount to leveling the playing field.’ This means SPEEDWM is “instrumental to Excelsior's early stages of development’. Peter’s determination coupled with the guidance and funding offered by SPEEDWM creates a formula for entrepreneurial success. This blend of factors demonstrates the vital role that SPEEDWM plays in the development of young businesses. Read more.

Sara joined the SPEEDWM programme in January 2009 as a 3rd year Art and Design student eager to apply her newly acquired skills and knowledge in a commercial environment. Urban Mind was born with the desire to ‘bridge the gap between the creative and the technical’. A company able to design innovative corporate branding solutions and produce website build packages. Sara comments: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed SPEEDWM and it has met my high expectations. I am now confident about my business, myself and my future.’ Read more.

Prior to studying for my degree and starting the business I had a long career in conservation, the longest serving conservation post being the Archives Conservator at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust where I set up the archives conservation studio. One key achievement being the conservation decision and treatment of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (1623) known as the First Folio, considered, amongst scholars, to be one of the most important printed books in the world. Read more.

Autoline Accessories Ltd provides a wide range of commercial vehicle styling accessories. The company sells the vast majority of its products online via its three websites and an eBay shop. To help cater for different markets, there are different sites for different international markets: the VanstyleUSA website provides commercial vehicle styling accessories to the North American customers, the VanMods site sells accessories to the UK and European customers and a specialised site focuses on the popular Mercedes Sprinter Vehicle. Read more.

After a recent trip to India, I found that I was truly disturbed by the poverty I had witnessed... although, the Indian economy is growing fast... it seems like the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer... when I returned to England I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the SPEEDWM programme at Keele University. I decided to combine my passion for helping others with cooking. By creating a fresh, authentic, homemade (just as good as mum’s), 100% vegetarian and low fat curry sauce, which would,in turn, help developing communities around the world by donating a set percentage of its profit to its charitable trust. Read more.

With the rise of popular media such as 'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'Dancing with the Stars,' attendance at Ballroom classes increased greatly in recent years. Due to this rapid increase, ballroom retailers have begun producing new lines of dancewear at increased prices, with some shoes retailing at £120 per pair. Feathersteps aims to retail shoes online to both competitive dancers and general learners at about half price. Read more.

Blue Seas Training and Consultancy Ltd is a 2010 start up company specialising in public courses and bespoke in-house training packages, covering topics such as People Management, Leadership and Management and Project and Programme Management. Blue Seas also provides business consultancy in each of these areas, offering the unique service of ‘making training work’ in your business. Read more.

AuREVIVE specialises and excels in making personal and sentimental jewellery. The director, Paula Perry, designs and creates jewellery made from old, broken, hallmarked jewellery which often has memories attached to it which is no longer worn. Through working with the client, Paula is able to create pieces which maintain the memories of the original jewellery, which can be worn in a new and contemporary fashion. The company also specialises in the production of silver charms which encapsulate fingerprints of friends or family. Read more.

DataDiscretion is your Key to Security. Our innovative encryption technology keeps your data safe whilst still using an elegantly simple user interface. DataDiscretion uses the metaphor of a ‘key’ understandable to anyone. This "key" enables the user to encrypt documents quickly, simply and reliably. Should a key be lost the customer can make a replacement using their KeyMaker. DataDiscretion’s products require no installation and no passwords. All products provide maximum security, work on any file type and documents can be saved on PC, web, shared networks, etc. DataDiscretion is your key to security. Read more.

MyUniSoc is a new innovative and user friendly platform dedicated for Student Societies, Sports clubs and Student Unions to get together collaborate and share ideas. MyUniSoc enables you to keep track of your local and national society events, communicate with Society leaders and manage all your events on a clean user friendly interactive calendar keeping you in the loop with what’s going on. Read more.

Skrapbook is a creative portfolio website for people’s creative work. Whether an artist, photographer or designer, we’ll make sure their talents and efforts receive the notice they deserve. Whether a creative is looking for a job, planning to sell their work or simply wanting to get noticed, we’re here to help. Skrapbook looks to help these people through the use of our website, shop and exhibitions to maximise their exposure and help them achieve what they want. Whether merely egotistical or used to support and enhance brands or interpersonal marketing, Skrapbook looks to help individuals and businesses alike. Read more.

Two lecturers from Stoke on Trent have taken the plunge since experiencing redundancy whilst working for the biggest further education institution in North Staffordshire. They have set up their own business offering adults in the Staffordshire area further education. Their recent employer cut more than 160 posts while battling financial difficulties with the aim of saving £4 million over the coming year. Read more.

Amour Occasions is a wedding planning and venue styling business offering several services such as wedding planning, hire items including giant martini glasses, gold fish bowls, chair covers, balloons and a chocolate fountain, we specialise in weddings within the West Midlands and Cheshire area and really believe in our mission statement. Read more.

App Haus develop innovative web and mobile applications for all platforms. Mobile applications are changing the way people consume information, and are opening a whole new world of possibilities for all types of organisations. The rapid growth of Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms are testament to the popularity and effectiveness of mobile 'apps'. Read more.

APYK films is a media production and stills photography company. Specialising in providing performance coverage, documentation, educational themed workshops and corporate and promotional videos for a variety of clients. Read more.

Campus Couture and Bespoke is set to become a new player in the UK for wholesome athletic clothes to live the good life. Campus will be made up of two sub-brands: Couture for girls and Bespoke for guys. Laidback, sexy but effortlessly cool in style sweatpants, hoodies and t-shirts will be the quality lines of apparel clothing that will be affordable to students and young professionals without the expensive price tag. Read more.

ecoMobile Valet is an eco friendly valeting company which operates on commercial and residential properties. We are concerned about the environment and the significant amount of water wasted each year in the car wash industry. Water pollution exists in our environment and we aim to reduce this significantly by using non hazardous, biodegradable products. We are revolutionising the car wash industry by using the latest technology. We offer a high class and professional valeting service to our customers. Read more.

Indirect Productions Ltd is a professional video production company based in the West Midlands. We specialise in music video and promos, events filming and corporate films. Although based in the Midlands area we travel nationwide to shoot videos and meet clients. We use state of the art industry standard equipment and HD cameras to create quality video. Our work doesn’t just stop when we’ve finished editing the video though as we always submit our music videos for television broadcast and distribute them online to get clients the best possible outcome. Examples of our video work can currently be found on our facebook page – Indirect Productions Ltd. Read more.

Jacqueline Harold is a designer and maker of contemporary tableware. Combining silver, ceramic, acrylic and rubber and often including automated elements are what makes her work unique. Jacqueline work also includes a range of silver, gold and acrylic jewellery. All of Jacqueline's pieces are hand made from her studio in the beautiful village of Stanley in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Read more.

Many Hats Marketing is a local internet marketing company; we specialise in helping small businesses get themselves online, find where their target market hangs out, and the best methods of advertising to their target market. We focus on marketing you to your local community to make you more competitive online and to put you in front of people who are most likely to want your services, your local community. Read more.

Now Hear This offers a wide range of promotions and management services to musicians, small businesses and live music venues.Our aim is to support local economies and music scenes through the introduction of reliable platforms for unsigned musicians to develop on a professional level, offering guidance, management and promotion. Alongside our work with musicians, we aim also to further encourage economic growth and stability by promoting local small businesses. It is our belief that the only real way to regeneratea local community is to encourage pride in the region. This pride can arise through seeing other local businesses and musicians succeeding and representing the region positively. Read more.

We are a small independent gift’s and fashion boutique with a love of all things gorgeous, unique, desirable and delicious. Our products are superb in quality and design and we believe that anything you own can be made to look stylish. From a simple stapler to a shopping trolley we will turn functional into fabulous. Our range of products are ethically sourced creations from artisans and innovative businesses from around the UK. Our passion is for giving beautiful gifts that are as much of a pleasure to give as they are to receive. Our designs are like our women sophisticated, sexy, funky, fun and very chic. Read more.

We are Sprinkles Ice Cream, a company that produces unique, homemade, delicious ice cream and baked goods. We are currently working from kitchen premises, but plan to move to shop premises In the upcoming months. Read more.

Techno Potato is an independent game company designing games for the Xbox Live Indie Arcade, Steam and smartphones. We aim to create games unlike those made before and to entertain our audience through humour and innovation. Our first game, Concept, is due for release December 2010 on the Xbox Live Indie Arcade. Read more.

TEXTBOX SOLUTIONS is a Staffordshire based web application development company formed in 2010. We offer web application solutions, which are essentially web pages that perform complex functions. Custom made applications tailor made to your requirements. E.g. business administration system, automated invoicing and arrears system. Applications that have been pre-made for quick delivery and configuration into a companies existing website. E.g. feedback form, wizard signup, image gllery, shopping cart, forum. Read more.

Watchorn Productions is a film and television production company based in the Midlands area. We offer a whole range of services from corporate videos, showreels, TV pilots to feature films; all at an affordable price. Our aim is to create an epic feel and cinematic look to every production no matter how small. Read more.

A secure information technology recycling company, serving the home, private and public sectors. We provide an end to end secure and certified environmentally friendly disposal of one of the most commonly occurring types of waste in our current climate, allowing the equilibrium of security and eco friendly disposal. Read more.

Salon Hero has the long-term aim of creating an online booking system for the salon industry. This will allow salons to manage their day-to-day bookings interactively and our overall mission is that one day salons will no longer need to take booking via the phone. Salon Hero will start as a directory website allowing salons to post information and advertise offer online to attract new customers. I will move on to implement the booking system, allowing small boutique salons to have similar technological resources to the larger chains. Read more.

An energetic website development business that designs and develops websites that are lightweight, fast, computable, and user friendly. With a key focus on developing bespoke web software to specification, Scorchsoft targets small businesses that want to use the web as a tool to generate more business or to support a business strategy. Our motto is that we like to keep things ‘simple’ and we manage everything for you from start to finish. Whether you need something tailored or ‘out-of-the box’ we listen to you requirements, provide advice and consultancy based on your needs and cater for customer’s with varying budgets. Read more.

miProfesorIngles. An on line English language business operating on the internet for Spanish students. Read more.

Happy2Help Limited is a Gardening, Housework and Odd Job agency meeting the needs of the local community by training local students in domestic duties and marrying up demand with supply. Read more.

Afrocenchix is an innovative new company that uses naturally sourced ingredients to produce premium hair care products. Afrocenchix hair products are free from harmful chemicals and parabens which can block the pores and lead to dry hair and breakage. We currently cater for Afro-Caribbean hair types but are in the process of researching natural products for European and Asian hair. Read more.

Coach 365 enables athletes to communicate with their personal network of coaches using a simple iphone application. The website will offer tools that enable users to book appointments, record training sessions, share video footage, and stay in constant communication with clients and key contacts. Read more.

Asetikbird is a brand that endorses projects of socially orientated themes within the Arts. Branching out into film, photography and publishing. The brand also offers consulting and workshops in each of these areas. Creating awareness of diverse social and moral issues is an aim of asetikbird. asetikbird films will distribute the company’s first documentary “Beggars of Lahore” in conjunction with asetikbird photography and asetikbird publishing which will launch photography linked to the “Beggars of Lahore” project along with a book of exhibition prints. This will be combined with conducting workshops which will inform students and also the local community of awareness of the begging problem. The three branches of asetikbird welcome new projects. Read more.

MyStudentBills.com is the first price comparison website solely dedicated to the needs of students. With far more important things to worry about at University, Mystudentbills.com can save students time and money on a range of services. By focusing on the three areas where students pay bills (energy, broadband and insurance) we have got rid of all the needless waffle attached to more mainstream websites. We also have lots of useful hints and tips to make the transition from halls to shared housing that much easier. Read more.

Using my teaching and legal backgrounds and experience in the security industry, I decided to apply for a franchise and centre status from SAFE-Edexcel for teaching those wishing to join various professions such as the Security Industry, Care professions, etc. We were eventually given a Satellite Centre Status to offer statutory training such as those for the SIA Licence. As an organisation we have ongoing training programmes that last 4 days followed by an examination which then can lead to BTEC and NVQ certificates. Read more.

Co-Go Coffee to Go uses a 4 metre tall coffee cup shaped pod to provide fair-trade coffee house products to on-the-go consumers. The Co-Go Pod is designed with practicality in mind but also to enhance the image of the surrounding area through its professional, high quality finish. The “to-go” focus allows Co-Go to provide the highest quality coffee in convenient locations served quickly with friendly service. Read more.

Snapshot Media is a new digital media company based in the heart of Yorkshire. They specialise in everything from brand identity design through to web design, web application development, and mobile apps. Snapshot Media make the web work for their clients. Snapshot Media has a very diverse client base, ranging from financial organisations to visual effect studios. Their clients cover every corner of the UK from Edinburgh to Cardiff to London as well as working with a number of international clients based in South Africa, the Middle East and mainland Europe. Read more.

The idea for Younilife was born during my second year of university; I had a wish to say what I think of my University and it was finally realised during my Masters in Design for Brand Development at Bath Spa University. I wanted to create a website that puts the students at the core. It started off as a platform allowing students to rate their university (we have every University and University College in the UK registered) and openly say what they think of it – unbiased by Universities and government bodies. Over time new features such as student news, video of the week, hot or not and student accommodation were added in order to expand our services and attract more users. Read more.

The Creative Factory offers a wide range of photography including weddings, personal portraits, engagements, and fashion photography and model portfolios. All photography produced by The Creative Factory for its customers can be provided in numerous ways, including; a slide show on a CD with music (music chosen by the customer) playing over the slide show, hard copies of the photos or even a printed album of the customers photos on quality silk paper which is handmade. Read more.

Philobook Publishing specialise in the publication of P4C (philosophy 4 children) books for children between the ages of two and eleven, and also have a philosophy for youth (P4Y) range, for young people between the ages of twelve and twenty. The core aim is to introduce the basic principles and ideas of philosophy through graphic illustrations and thought provoking sentences or phases in story books for children, thereby enabling children to learn in a fun way. While enjoying the story, they are also simultaneously gaining philosophical knowledge. Philobook also wish to bring its philosophical messages and stories into third world and developing countries such as Ghana, Ukraine etc and they will engage them with eAnimation and ePublishing through an eBook reader. Read more.

Aire Sustainability Consultancy is a new sustainability consultancy and training company based in Yorkshire. Aire Sustainability Consultants believe in changing business for the greater good. They believe that a business can no longer continue to grow without taking into account the true impact of its activities. The aim is to show organisations how to monitor and check the impact of their business and to report their activities honestly and transparently. Read more.

Aire Sustainability Consultancy is a new sustainability consultancy and training company based in Yorkshire. Aire Sustainability Consultants believe in changing business for the greater good. They believe that a business can no longer continue to grow without taking into account the true impact of its activities. The aim is to show organisations how to monitor and check the impact of their business and to report their activities honestly and transparently. Read more.

designthoughts, through its design work can bring fresh thinking concepts to focus your business ideas and create a unique identity for your brand. designthoughts can provide graphic design solutions to a number of areas, including; logo design, leaflets, posters and newsletters. The company currently specialises with small businesses, specifically creative’s, for example; boutiques and the creative industry. Read more.

Marbu Clothing is a new menswear retail company trading with its own shop and online. With its online strategy, Marbu aims to alleviate two problems that are commonly known across the clothing industry. The first problem is that customers cannot be sure clothing items ordered online will fit them properly, contributing to a return rate in excess of 30%. Marbu will solve this problem by measuring all the clothes that it sells and providing these details so a customer can match them up to their own physical measurements and/or existing clothing they have. The second problem is that when buying online the customer can’t see how the clothes will actually look on them. Marbu will solve this problem by providing a virtual mannequin which can be changed to match the customer’s features and then used to display the specific items of clothing on. Read more.

I completed my BSc Applied Psychology in 2002 then went on to complete my primary PGCE in 2004 and became a qualified teacher in 2006. I have 4 years teaching experience in primary schools in Lancashire, Leicester, West Yorkshire and London. I completed a MA in HRM in 2009 and I have been working part time in this field whilst gathering information to set up Nk Home Tutoring which is going to provide private tutoring for individuals. Once nk Home Tutoring has set up successfully this will become my main venture. Read more.

QRky Ltd aims to improve business networking by linking online content to print materials through the use of a Quick Response (QR) Code. QRky Ltd links a personal profiling site to the person’s business card and allows the end user to; automatically store contact details, connect to the owner via social media, and view additional content by scanning the barcode on the business card. The business card owner can update their details via their online QRky profile and this automatically updates the information stored on the business card. Read more.

Deaf Business Services Ltd provides a variety of services to deaf and hearing people. Services include; private market equity, venture capital, real estate (commercial and residential) and deaf awareness training for businesses. The business provides opportunities to small and large businesses all over Britain and internationally. Deaf Business Services Ltd work internationally allowing them the opportunity to help link hearing and deaf businesses in the international marketplace in countries such as; Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, South Africa and more. Read more.

This report provides a summary of the assist with Eureka Computing (May 07 – February 07) undertaken by the Advanced Engineering Cluster at the University of Wolverhampton, and in collaboration with Haughton Design. The project was delivered by IPDC associates Rainer Hurricks and Ibiye Roberts. Eureka Computing Ltd specialises in providing IT services and consultancy. Following an accident with a lock knife, its director developed and patented an idea for a safer opening / closing mechanism. After discussing his idea with established knife manufacturers, the client decided to develop his own safety-knife product - based on this mechanism. To realise this he needed support to develop the concept. Read more.

This report provides a summary of the assist with Nicholas Harrison (May 07 – March 07) undertaken by the Advanced Engineering Cluster at the University of Wolverhampton’s Innovative Product Development Centre. The project was delivered by IPDC associate Rainer Hurricks. Nicholas Harrison is a former student at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Art and Design. During his degree course he developed a concept for the mobile storage of needles for self-injecting diabetics. Read more.

Ecolec® is a division of the Thama Group of Companies which was established in the UK in 1985. The brand name ECOLEC® was launched in 1995 with the specific objective of supplying electric heaters to the market that were economic to run. Read more.

Expresslock manufactures security equipment for commercial vehicles and its customers include national and international carriers. The company offers a comprehensive range of locking systems, from traditional mechanical slamlocks through to "no-key" powered electronic controllers using the latest technology to operate locks hands-free. Read more.

SNG Barratt is the world's leading supplier of Jaguar spare parts with overseas branches in the USA, France and Holland in addition to the UK head office in Bridgnorth. With many classic car parts no longer available, SNG Barratt needed to develop a process to allow them to duplicate existing parts for manufacture. Read more.

Manufacturers of toy electronic model racing vehicles for children. The producers of this educational toy vehicle needed to streamline their design process, develop the design of a core chassis and identify overall space packaging allocation for the product. Read more.

The University of Wolverhampton has helped packaging development company Sirane Ltd since its inception, providing access to expertise in the testing of materials and establishing a product development strategy to grow its business and build the brand. Founded in 2003 by two of its directors with the aim of providing a new level of service and innovation to the packaging industry, Sirane is now a £7 million plus turnover enterprise, employs over ninety people and, in 2008, moved into a new manufacturing facility, its European Development Centre, in Telford. Read more.

Ansa Door Systems in Dudley launches a new product in quick time thanks to rapid prototype technology from the West Midlands Technology Network (WMTN) and the University of Wolverhampton’s Innovative Product Development Centre (IPDC). Ansa Door Systems Ltd was established in 2003 by Steve Pincher who has over 23 years design experience in the garage door industry. The company design and develop a range of remote control units for roller garage doors for the garage door industry. Originally planning to only design the units, the company has expanded its operations to include on-site assembly and distribution of the product supplying three of the UK’s top five garage door companies. Read more.

Contour Casings is a young business manufacturing radiator covers that are used in hospitals, schools and care homes. It was the first company to use anti-microbial products and is now a leader in its niche markets. As a rapidly growing business, Contour Casings lacked sufficient financial resources to invest in the research and development required to modify the radiator casings to improve heat efficient and reduce costs. Read more.

Finding an answer that’s set in stone. Ace Artstone offer a range of lightweight, built-in and retro-fitted, bespoke stonework products, adapting conventional techniques for manufacturing glass reinforced cement to give the look, feel and texture of stone in all its natural colours. Ace’s product range includes window heads and cills, string band, quoins, gable vents, date stones and door surrounds. Read more.

Bconnected is a creative technology company specialising in monitoring, capturing and processing business critical information in real time. The company has developed a range of services that combines the latest in biometric identification and wireless technologies to fundamentally change the way business operations are managed. Read more.

Five months after the launch of their Grab-o-saurus, a polypropylene grabbing tool, Polymer Cluster clients Graham and Sue Renny from Herefordshire are delighted with the interest shown in their imaginative new product, now in full production. Invented by Graham, careful engineering allows the device to collect a range of waste on any ground surface from above, so the operator can remain standing. Lightweight yet robust, Grab-o-saurus can be operated by anyone aged 9 to 90, saving time – and backache! Graham’s original idea came while he watched Sue picking up horse muck in the paddock – although the product has widespread appeal as a helpmate not just to horse owners but to horticulturalists of all levels. Read more.

With over 25 years experience BMI Engineering is renowned as a supplier of quality turned parts, pipe fittings and plugs in a range of engineering materials. The company prides itself on providing the highest level of products, service and technical advice to a wide variety of market sectors throughout the world. Although business was growing, the BMI board were aware that turnover relied heavily on a small number of customers and that, despite its machining skills and specialist capabilities in a number of areas, the company was perceived as a “manufacturer of plugs”. Read more.

Cre8iv-uk was formed in 2005 by a multi-skilled team that aims to take exciting new ideas from concept to reality by designing and developing a variety of innovative products. The first product to market is the StanceFind, the world’s first dynamic snowboarder’s stance calibration device. The StanceFind machine uses biomechanical reference points on the human body to determine a rider’s ‘optimal stance’ on a snowboard before he or she even takes to the slopes. Stance is the body’s only interface with the snowboard and the element likely to have the biggest impact on success – everyone’s stance is unique. StanceFind is not just for beginners; seasoned veterans and professional riders can benefit and it’s especially helpful for growing children and young adults as they develop. Read more.

Crown Plastic Mouldings, Bilston. Provided the experienced resources of Plastics Consultancy Services to help Crown Plastics with the systems and procedures knowledge to attain the quality standard. To sharpen skills within the company the Polymer Cluster also sponsored three of the Crown technical team in undertaking moulding setters’ training at PTL, the polymer training organisation. Read more.

GSF is the UK’s leading specialist supplier of telescopic slides and linear rails offering a wide range of products for various industries, all delivering safe, effective load handling. The company’s design team has the practical experience to provide innovative solutions for unusual applications and can design and manufacture products to meet specific needs. Transforming GSF’s automotive-based business by making the company a successful innovator in composite plastic-based body parts - and successfully substituting these components for traditional metal-based ones. Read more.

With a world-renowned reputation, Howell Tomkins designs and manufactures a range of high quality, traditional and contemporary candelabra, candlesticks and associated giftware, collectibles and bespoke products for a worldwide customer base. The 50-year old firm of Howell Tomkins, formerly Ralph Tomkins, was acquired by Adam Howell in 2002 as part of expansion plans for his electroplating and specialist metal finishing business serving the automotive industry. Recognising that his newly-acquired company had not introduced a new product to its range for some years, Adam wanted to establish a new product development strategy to expand the business, creating a range of products that would appeal to an increasingly discerning customer base. Read more.

L & R Products is a manufacturer in glass fibre with a wealth of experience (over 30 years) in unusual projects. Offering a complete service, L & R can replicate a wide variety of items in a range of finishes, tailored to customers’ needs, and has manufactured such varied items as gargoyles, a church spire, clock hands and water features. Diversification from automotive into the construction products sector with the development of an innovative, glass-reinforced plastic, one-piece chimneystack. Read more.

Lost Wax Development is an investment casting company with a reputation for offering the highest standard of performance from design concept to production for any critical engineering situation. The Lost Wax Development process achieves close dimensional tolerances and can produce a wide range of alloy specifications including stainless, carbon and alloy steels, non-ferrous alloys, bronze and silver. Lost Wax Development is a privately–owned company facing strong competition from overseas. To ensure its survival, the company decided it must diversify and approached the Advanced Engineering Cluster for help in identifying potential new markets and in developing strategies for entry. Read more.

MakMarine has developed an affordable family fun speedboat, featuring smooth-glide™ hull technology. smooth-glide™ uses advanced hydrodynamics including a hydrofoil which offers unique capabilities to deliver fun, performance and safety on the water. Launching in 2007, the craft has been developed to offer class-leading efficiency, range and comfort for waterbourne activites. To launch a brand new breed of lightweight, manoeuvrable, high-speed sea craft for the global leisure market – the c-fury™. Read more.

Nomique is a small but fast-growing design and manufacturing company producing quality contract furniture. The company’s aim is to bring affordable design to the commercial environment and it is rapidly developing a reputation for superior quality, design, and service. Products are developed by both the company’s in-house team and in conjunction with independent designers. The office furniture market is extremely competitive and Nomique intends to continue to develop new products that give the company a competitive edge. Recognising the need to continually improve its design and development process, plus increasing demand from suppliers for 3D CAD data, led Nomique to the Advanced Engineering Cluster Centre at the University of Wolverhampton’s Innovative Product Development Centre. Here the team provided a demonstration of the potential benefits of 3D CAD and rapid prototyping techniques, with impartial advice on the selection of the CAD package best suited to Nomique’s needs, by collaborating with the company in the development of a headrest clamp for a new chair. Read more.

PAL Extrusions, a division of the PAL Group, has 20 years’ experience in the production of rigid and flexible plastic profiles to meet a variety of end user requirements. With in-house design and toolmaking facilities, PAL specialises in producing bespoke profiles for clients, including tight tolerance specification, tambour shutter doors and medical supply sectors. To support the development of skill levels in the extrusion process, taking the company forward to achieve new levels of increased productivity and superior quality. Read more.

Plastic Bottle Supplies manufactures a diverse range of plastic bottles, containers and closures for a variety of industry sectors. The company offers both a standard product range and custom moulding facilities; quality, efficiency and reliability are key objectives in the company’s business growth programme. To allow a fast-growing company to continue to build on its current product quality, service level to customers and new product development. Read more.

Established in 1988, Quest 88 Ltd is recognised in the healthcare market as a leader in the design and development of activity-based products for all ages and is proud of its reputation for making a difference to the quality of people’s lives. The company’s products are all promoted specifically for their therapeutic benefits and major customers include Primary and Healthcare Trusts, Local Education Authorities and Social Services Departments as well as private sector organisations. The ‘Kaye Walker TM’ works at different levels and can be used as a gait training tool and also as an everyday mobility aid. It helps those with walking difficulties by providing assistance whilst promoting good posture. Quest 88 wanted to redesign the hip support feature on this product, both to reduce cost and make it easier to adjust and clean. Read more.

Reeds Carpets is the UK's largest independent exhibition floor-covering company with over 20 years of unrivalled experience contracted to a wide variety of venues and events and a large supply only distribution. Dedicated to investment in new technology and new product development, the company is committed to offering the best products available from manufacturers worldwide. To launch a revolutionary, fully recyclable carpet system. To contribute to environmental savings on the estimated 12 million square metres of carpet that the exhibition and events industry currently dumps every year, much of it ending up in landfill. Read more.

Sam has always been an inventor by nature and got the idea for developing a venting device for babies’ feeding bottles while watching a TV programme in 2002. Inspired, Sam was making a prototype within two hours of watching the programme and had a working model later the same day! Traditional bottle feeding means mothers trying to get the most milk down and then the most air up as safely as they can! They know swallowing air, caused when a vacuum forms in the bottle and by air bubbles in the milk, can give rise to painful colic and ear fluid build up in babies. Sam’s device reduces the vacuum in the bottle, improving the flow of liquid, so babies can feed comfortably without swallowing troublesome air. Sam spent 18 months making prototypes to get a sample that would show the product’s potential and needed help to produce a working prototype and advice on funding. Read more.

Teardrop produces innovative, injury-preventative equipment for conventional and extreme sports. The company aims to keep its customers well protected during sporting activity; Teardrop provide technological solutions to improve equipment currently used in the sports industry, increasing product performance and reducing the risk of injury for sportspeople. Read more.

A problem-solver by nature, Tony Smith searched unsuccessfully for a product that would support a laptop so that it could be used comfortably from a living room chair. He couldn’t find one to suit his needs, so he designed his own and made a prototype in his garage. When, on a friend’s suggestion, he entered his invention in a competition for innovations, he was surprised to reach the final. Now his original concept, the Wizard computer stand, is set to reach the marketplace. Read more.

Ace Nu-Look – a new look for homes. A Dudley builder is winning orders and interest for his innovative decorative window header and window cill products that give an instant new look to property exteriors. The attractive, lightweight, polymer stone fascias can easily be fitted above and below most windows, give the look and feel of real stone, are cost-effective and suitable for both new buildings and those needing refurbishment. Mark Grazier, in the building trade for nearly 15 years, devised the idea for the new product while fitting traditional stone headers and cills. Mark says “Traditional stone is heavy and is easily damaged. My thought was to develop a replica fascia material with the appearance of real stone, something that would be easy to fit, give kerb-appeal and add instant value”. Read more.

A K Industries (AKI). Faced with the challenge of a reduced training budget and the need to continuously improve quality and customer satisfaction, Herefordshire-based A K Industries (AKI) was delighted to take advantage of funded training through the Telford-based Polymer Cluster project.AKI are proud of their reputation for new product development and “design for manufacture” capabilities, working with their customers from product concept stage to full production. The company has been providing a special service in technical solutions in plastic injection moulding for the last ten years across a range of market sectors, including shower and bathroom products, and has just over a hundred employees. Read more.

Carepoint Group. A unique device should soon be bringing relief to an incredible one in ten people in the UK. But ‘Aurex-3’, a handheld device to limit the suffering of people with the constant ear-ringing condition tinnitus, almost did not make it past a prototype. One in ten adults in the UK suffer from tinnitus, which has no conclusive medical cause, and 250,000 people in the UK live with intolerable noise levels produced by this condition. The Bewdley-based Carepoint Group first imported the tinnitus relief aid for sale across Europe after director Dr Mark Brenner met its American founder, the late Alfonso Di Mino, in 1998. The relief aid was featured on the BBC television programme Tomorrow’s World. Read more.

Cuxson Gerrard & Co Ltd was founded in 1878 and have pioneered many new product developments in the health care industry, earning them a reputation for reliability and Quality, a company set up for the development, manufacture and distribution of health products; there aim is to maintain a position in their market and stay ahead of their competition by creating a platform of affordable products. The innovative new design for a bunion on a foot will incorporate a special ergonomically suitable design that fits under bunions on feet. Help with Design and Development of the “Bunion Guard” to help the company produce with it with confidence. Therefore Input on material testing, knowledge of the material blend, rheology data, new CAD and if possible bring the manufacture in-house (UK). Read more.

Holidoze Ltd. The Polymer Cluster is pleased to be helping an innovative mother-of-three in the production of an inspirational inflatable cot, to be officially launched at the International Baby and Child Fair at the NEC, Birmingham, in October 2004 and on sale at independent retailers at the beginning of April this year. Jo Bradford, a former accountant who returned to complete a BSc in Computer Aided Design at the University of Wolverhampton, was looking for inspiration for her final year project. While waiting to pick up her eldest daughter from work, she watched as a mother struggled from a nearby hotel with a young baby plus all the paraphernalia she needed – and an idea was born. Read more.

Client Q LEAP Ltd. The Entrepreneur with the idea had no knowledge of how to design and develop the product He has formed this company to specifically develop security products for the Holiday market. Design and Development of the “Pluto” product with an aim to help the product get manufactured and into the market. Qleap and polymer Cluster team have formed a close working relationship, where we helped with the process of evaluating, testing and the development of the Safe box for the beach and poolside tables “Pluto” as wall as assisting with input into the business plan and the Manufacturing of the product. This was made possible with the aid of the expertise within the Warwick Manufacturing Group support under the Polymer Cluster Programme. Read more.

Pyroplex, part of the Reddiplex Group. A West Midlands company believes in adding value to its products in as many ways as possible to compete successfully in today’s marketplace. The Reddiplex Group of Droitwich has been operating in the plastics and rubber extrusion industry for over 35 years, manufacturing extrusions for a wide range of market sectors and working with an extensive range of materials. Research and Development Director Mike Newey is driving the move towards more technically advanced products and streamlined operations. With the help of the Telford-based Polymer Cluster, a fully funded training programme has been provided through PTL, the polymer training organisation, to raise skills and knowledge levels in production. Read more.

Summit Systems Ltd. Enabling breakthrough technology is a key objective for the Telford-based Polymer Cluster. “Forging links between business and the higher education sector is key”, says Polymer Cluster Champion Paul Hackney. Recently, Cluster funding has enabled Summit Systems Ltd., a leading manufacturer and supplier of drying equipment to the plastic processing industry, to take advantage of the research and development facilities at the University of Warwick. The beginning of April this year will see a Warwick MSc student, under the guidance of the Polymer Cluster’s delivery partner, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), engaged in the testing of a new drying technology currently being developed at Summit Systems. The new concept is based on vacuum drying, which is more efficient and economical compared to commonly used hot air and dehumidifying dryers. Read more.

Warwick Manufacturing Group. New breast cancer mannequin revolutionises the teaching of breast cancer awareness. The first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2003, saw the launch of a unique, highly accurate, breast cancer mannequin, giving women learning how to spot breast lumps a training aid that can closely mimic what a range of breast lumps actually look and feel like. The quest to create this unique breast cancer teaching aid began when Black Country Business Link introduced three highly motivated disability nurses to Dr Nick Tucker, senior polymer engineer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), to help them create a teaching aid that would assist them in teaching breast cancer awareness and self-inspection to people with learning difficulties. Read more.

Wrap Film Systems Ltd. Wrap Film Systems Ltd aims to launch an innovative new product in 2004, having spotted an opportunity to break into a new market. The Telford firm is a leading supplier of cling film and aluminium foil products, traditionally to the catering and hospitality industry. The Polymer Cluster is helping Wrap Film Systems bring to market a new consumer dispenser for clingfilm and foil. The new dispenser is more robust and easier to use than the traditional cardboard versions that often collapse and is still disposable after use. Larger quantities of film can be bought and dispensed more easily and safely with this new product. Read more.

Sue Andrews and Bellybusters. Sandwell storyteller Sue Andrews has invented a new board game for use in schools to encourage children to eat more healthily. “Bellybusters” involves players in moving characters around the board, collecting healthy foodstuffs like fruit and vegetables and avoiding junk food. It also includes question cards and tasks for the children that involve exercising. “The great thing about it is that the children learn about what to eat, how to exercise and to clean their teeth but they don’t realise it – to them it’s just fun”, says Sue. Read more.

Twin brothers are planning a business strategy to take their revolutionary miniature jet engine to market – with the aid of the Advanced Engineering Cluster. Chris and Paul Bladon recently established Bladon Jets at their Oswestry premises, from where they are already nationally and internationally recognised as engineers, developing and building racing motorcycles. Chris and Paul brought their drawing office and manufacturing facilities to Shropshire from Hertfordshire fourteen years ago, looking for somewhere quiet to expand their racing motorcycle business. Both brothers had enjoyed success as amateur riders and realised that the preparation of the bikes was paramount to competition success. Read more.

The Advanced Engineering Cluster has supported collaboration between five West Midlands organisations to produce an innovative product with distinct competitive advantage in the global marketplace. For several decades, the market in hinges that allow a van rear door to rotate through 270º has been dominated by a German company. Early in 2005, Bloxwich Engineering Ltd, manufacturers of a wide range of automotive components, devised a hinge concept that would be cheaper to manufacture, last longer and look better. Read more.

With a reputation as a major player in the historic restoration market, the Boro’ Foundry is a traditional family-owned sand casting business that has operated on its site in Lye, Stourbridge, since the early 1900s. Over the last few years, Boro’ has been involved in a number of restoration projects that tested its skills in reverse engineering. For example, the company reproduced 16 cast iron “serpent” benches for Sandwell Council’s restoration project at the Victorian period Haden Hill House. Read more.

A Brierley Hill manufacturer is about to start production of a device for protection against falls when working at height that is easier, lighter and less cumbersome while retaining safety standards. Established in 1982, Dunn & Cowe Ltd is a leading UK manufacturer in the fall protection equipment market of anchor devices and other products for fall arrest, fall prevention, work positioning and rescue. Derek Cowe, the Managing Director, has been involved in the design and manufacture of safety products since the late 1960s. The company’s expertise and philosophy of attention to detail has led to the development of a series of new products over the years, one of which is a horizontal lifeline, which, when fitted to a structure, provides protection against falls from a height. A ‘traveller’ enables the user to connect to the wire and then traverse safely across the roof along the wire without disconnecting. Read more.

EBS (Excavator Bucket Services) of Hay Mills manufacture heavy duty excavator buckets for the building and construction market. Maurice McCourt, the current Managing Director, bought the company in 1987, and recently approached the Advanced Engineering Cluster for help in developing a strategic plan to grow the business in a balanced and profitable manner. Read more.

Guttercrest Ltd. One Oswestry-based company recently assisted by the Advanced Engineering Cluster is Guttercrest Ltd. Originally engaged in the installation of rainwater disposal systems, the company started to manufacture its own products in 1988 and is now a specialist manufacturer of a range of standard and bespoke rainwater systems, copings, fascias and soffitts. Read more.

Fuel+ is an award-winning, innovative, fuel treatment system developed by Maxsys Ltd. The patented technology improves combustion efficiency when installed in gas or oil fuel pipelines before the burner. Guaranteed savings of at least 5% are achieved with a pro rata reduction in emissions. Each Fuel+ system is custom designed and manufactured. Maxsys handles all the design, installation, monitoring and project management, plus the provision of the services of the world leaders in energy management, ABB, for independent analysis of the system, for every customer. Read more.

Rojac Tooling Technologies Ltd. The Advanced Engineering Cluster is supporting the development of eCluster, a group of high-quality engineering companies based in the West Midlands, UK, who want to offer their specialist services to a world-wide market. By combining their resources and skills they intend to bid collectively for larger work packages in a wide variety of markets. Read more.

Solutions through Innovation (STI). Allan MacKenzie has always been innovative by nature and set up his own company, Solutions through Innovation. Six years’ ago, after a neighbour had a firework pushed through his letterbox, Allan put his mind to work and developed an anti-arson letterbox, for which he won an Award of Excellence medal at London International Inventors Fair in 1997 for the design of the product “most likely to be commercially successful”. Read more.

Turnock Ltd. A Walsall company is finding success in bucking the trend for manufacturing to go overseas. Turnock Ltd., of Walsall, manufacturers of electrical and lighting products for 100 years, are now producing their own superior, cheaper lampholder instead of importing the item from the Far East. Turnock’s enterprising managing director, Gordon Stone, bought the company in 1998, inheriting its increasing debt and decreasing sales, and set about turning the business around. Read more.