Developing thermoplastic composite braiding bus handrails.

Funding helps get prototypes underway for new lightweight composite braided handrails.

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The Company

Composite Braiding Ltd designs and manufactures thermoplastic braided advanced composite components for the Transportation and lnfrastructure markets, the majority of their work currently being with automotive and rail companies.

What they do?

The company specialises in thermoplastic composite braiding which combines materials and processes in a unique way delivering high-volume, lower cost, lightweight advanced composite components. This involves greater automation and hence reduced labour costs. As all the fibres within a braided structure are continuous and mechanically locked, braid has a natural mechanism that evenly distributes load throughout the structure. This means that braid is the stronger, tougher, more flexible alternative to woven composites. The process is aimed at higher volume, lower cost composite components.

The Challenge

The company identified a gap in the market to produce new lightweight handrails for a number of transportation applications, including bus handrails. Current handrails are typically mild steel. The parts Composite Braiding can design and manufacture could be 50-60% lighter, delivering real benefits for bus operators, albeit it at a similar price to current handrails.

Carbon Covered Handrail - Composite Braiding

Composite Braiding’s process is ideally suited to this use as it is highly automated and uses much less labour than similar composite parts made today. However, as part of the new product development the company needed to purchase some additional equipment in order to produce small-scale samples to assist with the speed and efficiency of prototyping.

The Solution

Composite Braiding Ltd were referred to The iNet through D2N2 Growth Hub. After meeting with an advisor, the company applied for and received grant funding from the EDRF Catalysing Growth (GTR TEM) programme.

The Outcome

The funding helped the company purchase the necessary equipment that was vital to their efforts and was a key part in helping to secure some early business.

The company is now working on making pre-coloured hand rails of all sorts of hues, that will open up their market even further.

In my opinion the iNet team and process is best in class for assistance and speed of decision-making

Steve Barbour - Managing Director
About the client

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Composite Braiding
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