Published Wednesday 02 January 2013
A collaborative project between the University of Leeds and CGI International Ltd was awarded the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ by the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) Grading Panel for its achievement in meeting KTP’s objectives and was shortlisted with 7 others (out of about 800 KTP projects) for the Best Partnership Award 2012.
The team of researchers from Leeds, CGI International Ltd, a leading manufacturer of fire resistant glass, and key KTP Associate Vincent Crook collaborated to better understand and map the properties of glasses subjected to fire. This led to better glass performance, improved safety and new ready-to-market products.
With no in-house technical capability of its own, CGI turned to the KTP and the University of Leeds to assemble the scientific knowledge necessary to overcome the performance limitations and to develop better fire resistant products. Development of three new formulations resulted in new glass products with better fire performance and in larger sizes than previously possible, exceeding market trends.
Glass panel size was now limited only by production capabilities, not product performance. The new product, unique in the market as the thinnest cut-able fire glass available, now accounts for 50% of sales, representing more than £6m of turnover for CGI, 24 times more than that anticipated in the project application.
After the project, Vincent was recruited by CGI to its management team as Head of R&D. The KTP project drove a fundamental change in company culture. CGI has progressed from being a commodity product manufacturer and supplier to a technically-led provider of innovative solutions for fire engineering problems in the construction industry.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “This project highlights that science-based research will have a positive effect on sales growth. The partnership’s work has led to clear return on investment. This will encourage other companies to look at the benefits the research and collaborative community bring to the company coffers.”
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships - Best of the Best videos