Two award wins in one day!

Wednesday 3rd November turned out to be our most successful day yet, as we scooped two innovation awards!

In the morning, we heard that we’d won the ‘Problem Solver’ Category for the East Midlands region in the Chamber Business Awards.  This recognises “a business that has transformed the market that they operate in or their product or service in order to gain a strong position in their market.” Many thanks to East Midlands Chamber for putting us forward for this. Our regional win means we are now automatically nominated for the national ‘Problem Solver’ award, which will be decided on Thursday 9th December — fingers crossed!

Then that evening, our collaborative project to develop antimicrobial, lightweight grab poles for public transport won the ‘Innovation in Composite Materials’ category at the Composites UK Awards 2021.

Our unique composite grab poles kill 99.9% of bacteria found on their surface and are 70% lighter than traditional steel grab poles. We teamed up with five other partners on this innovation, including an innovative rail vehicle designer and manufacturer; two antimicrobial materials developers and suppliers; WMG, The University of Warwick; and the Health and Safety Executive.  

Our Managing Director, Steve Barbour, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win these awards! As a company, we’re always striving to be innovative and push boundaries, so it’s really gratifying to get recognition for this.”

Speaking specifically about the antimicrobial grab pole project, Steve explained: “Grab poles are high-touch items in public transport and so play a role in the transmission of infections. Our antimicrobial design will help to protect the people who use them from dangerous bacterial infections such as E.coli and MRSA. At the same time, because they are lightweight, they will help to reduce emissions in petrol and diesel vehicles or increase the performance of electric vehicles. So it’s a win-win for people and the planet!”

The process used to manufacture the poles represents a step forward in composites, because it consumed 98% less energy and created 97% less waste than traditional composite manufacturing methods. It’s also highly automated, enabling the parts to be produced at high volume (100,000+ per year) and at costs that are comparable with mild steel grab poles.

Working with the project partners, we now plan to take this product to market and already have interest from several public transport operators. There has also been interest from other sectors — such as marine, medical and construction — about the potential to use this technology to create other antimicrobial parts.

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Composite Braiding Ltd, Dunstall Park Rd, Allenton, Derby DE24 8HJ, UK