Teardrop Technologies.

Chelmarsh

Castlecroft

Wolverhampton WV3 8JB

www.teardroptechnologies.co.uk

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.

“The Polymer Cluster team were invaluable for a small company such as ours. They worked closely with us in testing a whole host of materials for impact and were an integral part in helping create the standard for this work.”

John Wood, Director, Teardrop Technologies

The opportunity

To launch a world-beating and shock absorbing solution to foam for cricket gloves – and also create a protocol for a new standard to apply to this product around the world.

Polymer Cluster actions

The Polymer Cluster took on a central project management role for this product innovation, including:

Appointing and managing Rapra Technology – for research into the behaviour and performance of the new polymer foam.

Working with the expertise of the Innovative Product Development Centre (IPDC) at the University of Wolverhampton.

Near the project end – appointing and working with the SATRA Technology Centre in order to conduct specialised testing and reporting.

The benefits 

The new product has succeeded in the market place and helped Teardrop to attract significant new export orders.

As a result of the innovation one new job has also been created at the company – and one job has been safeguarded.

Key highlights

The Polymer Cluster’s project management services were key in co-ordinating the various aspects of the research, design and development – and then driving them to achieve a result in the marketplace. The involvement of Satra expertise at a late stage was key, as was the impact testing - using a Drop System at Durham University.

The innovators at Teardrop found that thickness of material did not necessarily improve performance. Thinner materials – in combination with Teardrop’s own air product - eventually made for a better product, distributing force more evenly over the surface of the glove.

Additional outcomes

As a result of its innovation, with Polymer Cluster help, Teardrop was selected in 2006 for the annual Lord Stafford Awards. The company won the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award – resulting in a good deal of publicity in the Midlands area and beyond.

Teardrop batting pads and glove designs are now featuring on county cricket players including Surrey’s James Benning, Derbyshire’s Ant Botha and Chris Taylor, Leicestershire’s Ryan Cummins and England squad player Graham Onions.

Teardrop is also in the vanguard of those looking to reduce injury and improve the performance of the British Standard in cricket protection wear. Further R & D in weathering and cushioning is taking place at the company in conjunction with its partners.