Solent LEP Backing for British Manufacturer Thinking Space Systems
Thinking Space Systems have been successfully awarded government funding to help them implement their innovative new project. The control room furniture specialists, based in Hampshire, sought the help of The Solent Growth Hub in order to improve their product range of technical furniture which is exported worldwide.
The Solent Growth Hub put them in touch with The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to bid for a share of the £5 million Solent Growth Fund to help towards the project investment. The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership's Solent Growth Fund - Small Business Programme is funded in part by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme together with funds from HM Government's Local Growth Deal. Thinking Space met the criteria so were invited to apply.
The LEP funding panel, made up of political and business leaders, were impressed with the Company’s application and business plan presented to them, and awarded them a sum of £66,410 to contribute towards the project. The project involves the purchase of printing machinery in order to provide an alternative solution to the panel system that is currently used in design of heavy duty desks for control rooms.
A Thinking Space desk in itself is unique, as it uses the company’s innovative aluminium build system to create a framework. The panels are then used to clad the framework. The current panel is a composite sheet with a core of polyethylene, sandwiched between two layers of aluminium. The sheet is then laminated at the Company’s premises with a decorative finish. This lamination process is reliant on a single European supplier who has continued to reduce colour options whilst increasing the price.
Alternative options were researched and tested with the goal being not to rely on a third party in the solution, and to be able to offer more choice of finishes to remain competitive. After a year of development, the proposal is to print onto the panels using a large format printer with patterns, finishes, logos etc.
The proposal includes the purchase of the printer which will prime and print the panels, a lacquering machine to ensure their hardwearing capabilities and comply with the 10 year warranty (to match the furniture warranty), a clean room to store the machines, and the necessary IT hardware and software for graphics and IT automation. This will allow Thinking Space to add new products to their current range and to expand into new markets. Investment in the creation of three new jobs whilst also safeguarding seven jobs are also part of the equation and reason for the funding application being successful.
Managing Director Wayne Palmer explained “we are delighted that the government has recognised a need to support the growth of British Manufacturing. This investment in printing technology opens up a whole range of business opportunities for us, not just in terms of our furniture solution, and allows us control over our own materials. The future is exciting, we now have job security for our staff, and new opportunities to offer to support businesses in the local community too”.
Brian Johnson, Solent LEP Director and SME Ambassador, added: "The Solent LEP is delighted to have supported Thinking Space Systems with their application for funding. The ERDF Small Business Programme is part of the broad business support offer which the LEP makes available to Solent based SMEs, and as SME Ambassador, it's great to see forward-thinking companies such as Thinking Space Systems secure funding to take their business to the next level. I would strongly encourage other Solent based SMEs to do the same".
Photo above: Managing Director Wayne Palmer demonstrates the printed panel solution with an example of a custom designed print, which was demonstrated at the World ATM Congress Exhibition last March.
About Thinking Space Systems
Locally, nationally and globally – Thinking Space Systems excels in supplying specialist high quality technical furniture for control room environments, serving Air Traffic Control, Security, Plant & Process, Transport and Broadcasting sectors. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Thinking Space Systems has developed an enviable reputation for outstanding products and unrivalled service. Bespoke furniture solutions can be custom built to suit a wide range of purposes with the focus being to improve working environments.
In addition to manufacturing its own technical furniture, Thinking Space Systems is also the UK distributor for Swiss-based Kanya, an aluminium extrusion manufacturer. Thinking Space is also the exclusive UK distributor for Novus, one of the world’s leading brands of monitor mounting and ergonomic desk accessories for the workplace.
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Social media: twitter @thinkingspacesy, LinkedIn company/thinking-space-systems-ltd
About the Solent LEP
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was formed after the Government offered local areas the opportunity to take control of their future economic development. It is a locally-owned partnership between business, education and local authorities and plays a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs.
About the European Regional Development Fund
The project is receiving up to £66,410 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding