Driving innovation: Award-winning luxury caravan manufacturer uses Knowledge Transfer Partnership to implement Industry 4.0 and introduce new composite materials
Posted on 02/09/2019
Not for the first time leading British luxury caravan manufacturer, Fifth Wheel Company, has turned to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) for an injection of specialist expertise and knowledge – here supplied by Busnes@LlandrilloMenai, Group LLandrillo Menai’s dedicated business support group – for the company’s next phase of growth and innovation.
The latest initiative, a two-year project co-funded by the Welsh Government and Innovate UK, will see the implementation of smart new digital manufacturing processes focussed on Industry 4.0 manufacturing principles. The KTP will also introduce advanced composite material design to the company’s bespoke product range.
Commenting on the partnership Knowledge Transfer Adviser at the KTN, Mick Card, said: “The KTP really allows the Fifth Wheel Company to take advantage of the advanced manufacturing expertise available from Group Llandrillo Menai to help them develop and embed world leading manufacturing capability”.
The Denbighshire-based company, launched in 2002 and achieving a 10 out of 10 score from The Caravan Club magazine, manufactures luxury tourers, designed and built in Britain. Looking to be at the forefront of the manufacturing revolution, The Fifth Wheel has appointed Charlie Small to project manage the KTP as its KTP Associate. With a first class degree in Product Design from Bangor University, Charlie is relishing the prospect of his KTP Associate role spearheading the project which, as he describes it ”….will be ground-breaking to the future development of the company…being a part of that is massively exciting”.
This is the company’s second KTP which, like all KTPs, creates a dynamic three-way partnership between a company, an academic team and a graduate or post-graduate (the KTP Associate). The first saw David Robinson recruited as the KTP Associate – he, like many KTP Associates, was offered a permanent position by the company on completion of the KTP and now is employed as Design Manager at Fifth Wheel Company.
“KTP was a fantastic platform for not only my career, but for introducing Fifth Wheel Company to new ways of thinking which are still being used here 7 years later. From my experience I know Charlie will feel the positive effects of what KTP can do for his own personal development for years to come” he said.
As with all KTPs, the aim is for all three partners to benefit from their collaboration and this one sees the partnership with Busnes@LlandrilloMenai further deepen.
KTP aims to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills held within the UK knowledge base. The Knowledge Transfer Network delivers the KTP programme which is funded by Innovate UK and other co-funders through UK Research and Innovation as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.
KTPs can benefit companies of all sizes and in any sector and last for between 12 and 36 months. Further information about KTPs is here and applications for funding are open all year round. The next deadline for funding applications is 2nd October 2019.
If you think a KTP could be the right vehicle to help your organisation innovate for growth, find your nearest Knowledge Transfer Adviser today to discuss your project idea.