Simpact Engineering Ltd is a high quality Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) consultancy. Its core business activity is the design, development and engineering of bespoke safety solutions which offer protection from impact loading.
Simpact create a range of impact related products and materials founded on their own IP, but understand the benefits of collaborating with a University department in order to validate them for market. Since 2012, Simpact has had a range of requirements to bring new skills into the business to manage new projects and deliver growth, and we began working with them through an existing relationship they had with the WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre.
The first project that we collaborated on involved securing funding for a short Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which enabled an Associate to work on the testing of a natural composite made out of reed bundles. This was an innovative re-engineering of a material that hadn’t been used for 4000 years, using state-of-the-art simulation and test equipment to turn the ancient composite into something suitable for the modern day.
Following this, Simpact took on two specialist interns. The first tested polymer materials at high and low temperatures for a product for the industrial gas supply industry. This involved testing samples of a range of materials to destruction using specialist equipment in an environmental chamber. The plastics were tested at temperatures between -40C and 80C. The second internship investigated the fatigue properties of specialist composite materials. Composites can be engineered to have fantastic mechanical properties, and how they perform when new is well understood. However there is a lack of knowledge of how they perform after a life of hard use. During this internship, a specialist testing kit was used at WMG to generate data which has helped Simpact to understand how this ageing process happens. The work on this internship has allowed WMG and Simpact to successfully bid for research funding from Innovate UK for a further KTP project. The project will provide an understanding of the lifetime performance of composites, in particular those which are designed to perform in harsh environments.
As well as developing components and products for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), Simpact are now developing their own unique products. We have assisted Simpact with the design and prototyping of the first of these – a unique lighting system for high speed photography, which is used in all sorts of impact testing, from automotive crash testing to ballistic trials for armour.
Simpact have been able to develop a number of new products and materials to commercialise and sell to a range of industries. The very first internship project resulted in them winning business with a major company in the oil and gas sector to redesign a component. The second internship and KTP project will allow Simpact to develop an ‘artificial’ ageing process to improve impact properties and will deliver a technology demonstrator for the purpose of marketing to potential clients.
The work we have carried out for SImpact’s new lighting products has greatly reduced the tooling cost for the finished part. Since starting work with WMG, the company has doubled in size, employing three new people.