Derby Company Wins Prestigious Locomotive Engineering Award
By: Connect Derby
The firm, which is based at the iHub on Infinity Park in Derby, has won 'Technical Innovation of the Year' for the project to design a lightweight alternative to the metal frames of train carriages.
The Global Light Rail Awards recognise innovative excellence in the global light and urban rail sector and are regarded as the 'Oscars of the light rail industry'. The winners in 17 categories were announced at an awards ceremony at London's Honourable Artillery Company, which were hosted by broadcaster and journalist Nicholas Owen.
Composite Braiding and partners FAR-Composites, Transport Design International (TDI) and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), operating under the name 'Project Brainstorm', designed, developed and manufactured a prototype spaceframe as a light-weight structural solution for (Very Light Rail) VLR application.
Over a 15 month period, the consortium developed a braided composite tubular frame which was more lightweight, cheaper and comparatively stronger than a metal alternative. The process also proved to be better for the environment and easier to fix than the standard metal frames.
The company operates from a hybrid working environment at the 45,000ft2 iHub, the centre-piece of Infinity Park, the new 100-acre commercial and technology site, located between Sinfin and Chellaston.
As well as traditional office space, the firm occupies two state-of-the-
Judges praised the winning submission for its innovation, vision and ambition to create not only new manufacturing processes, but potentially a whole new industry.
Steve Barbour, managing director of Composite Braiding, said:
"We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. This has been an incredibly challenging but rewarding project and its success comes from the commitment, expertise and energy of our dynamic team.
"The outcomes and impacts achieved by the Brainstorm project could be adopted quickly by light rail manufacturers or developed and adapted for additional applications within transportation and engineering."
Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added:
"Composite Braiding is one of a number of companies which have helped the iHub establish a reputation for creating cutting-edge ideas in the aerospace, automotive and transport engineering industries and we would like to wish Steve and his consortium partners every success with this exciting new venture."
The £12m iHub, which has Enterprise Zone status, has attracted a diverse range of businesses from across the rail, aerospace and automotive supply industries.
The development has received funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as well as Derby City Council and the University of Derby.
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