KTP helps secure £14m worth of orders for Joesph Rhodes

KTP helps secure £14m worth of orders for Joesph Rhodes

KTP Associate Karthik Ramakrishnan

An innovative new approach to Super Plastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding processes (SPF/DB), developed through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Sheffield Hallam University has played a fundamental role in securing orders worth £14 million from BAE for Joseph Rhodes Ltd.

The new processes also led to a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the company, which is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of metal forming, environmental, aerospace and clay working machinery, as well as of sub-sea structures for deep sea oil and gas exploration.

With the support and guidance of Sheffield Hallam's academic experts, KTP Associate Karthik Ramakrishn and worked with Joseph Rhodes to help them introduce advanced Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) techniques of 3D modelling, animation, simulation and finite element analysis (FEA) with the overall goal of improving design innovation to reduce lead time and costs for new product development.

Karthik successfully introduced innovative CAE techniques and worked with design staff to help them embed these new techniques into company working practices. He also brought in new knowledge and capabilities in FEA and 3D animation which have had a significant impact on product development and optimisation.

Joseph Rhodes was not new to the KTP approach, Karthik’s programme was the company’s second successful KTP experience and once again, it has shown clear benefits for all three parties. The impact on Joseph Rhodes performance has been dramatic, Karthik now has a permanent role with the company as their finite element design engineer, and Sheffield Hallam University has become a regular source of advice and expertise for the company, from stress analysis to the use of consultancy facilities for activities such as testing rubber products and ceramic blocks.

Some of the specific achievements as a result of this innovative KTP programme, which has been judged outstanding at national level and shortlisted for the best KTP Awards 2011, include

  • £10 million increase in annual sales turnover during the project period
  • increased profit margin of £100,000 through cost savings from FEA work
  • £500,000 increase in annual profits three years after completion of the KTP
  • £14 million of new orders with BAE
  • the development of a new autoclave business and the chance for the company to work in partnership on a £750 million waste management project
  • introduction of 3D animation which helps customers to get a clear view of how their machine works
  • increase of 80% in overseas turnover in 2009/2010 and 121% in 2010/2011

Managing director Mark Ridgway is a firm supporter of the KTP programme, and the company has now completed four successful partnerships. 

The KTP scheme with Sheffield Hallam University ensures that the company adopts and utilises leading edge design technology to maintain and develop its world class product reputation. Not only has this had an impact on domestic sales, but overseas turnover increased by 80% in 2009/2010 and 121% in 2010/2011. Our association with Sheffield Hallam University has made a significant impact on the company’s operations and a visible improvement to our bottom line figures.

Find out more about our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships here

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