Local Manufacturer gains accreditation for earthquake proof product

Manufacturing company Rainford Solutions, is expected to achieve £1million in sales of a new product with help from St Helens Chamber’s Access to Specialist Services programme.

Duncan Crawford, Finance Director at Rainford Solutions, said: “We manufacture steel or aluminium metal based enclosures that house electronics. The biggest market that we work in is telecoms and we are currently riding the broadband roll out boom which is driving demand for our products in the UK.

“We take the raw material in sheet form and design the enclosure. Then we start cutting it, bending it, welding it and assembling it into the final cabinet.”

Rainford Solutions has attracted customers from all over the globe and from countries where protecting electronic equipment can face challenges from extremes of nature. The company has designed a more robust type of enclosure to meet these demands but needed specialist help to get their product to customers.

Duncan said: “We’ve got a couple of existing customers who had a requirement for a cabinet that would withstand earthquakes and be stronger and a lot more rigid. However, the cabinets have to go through a formal certification to prove they can withstand seismic conditions before anyone will buy them.

“We had a design that was accepted by our customers, but we knew that if they wanted it other customers that would also be interested in it. These customers would typically be around the Asian Pacific region or earthquake hotspots around the world where they need to house sensitive electronic equipment.

“To get the testing done it was going to cost around £20,000 which is a lot of money before you’ve sold anything and is of course a risk. That’s where Access to Specialist Services came in.”

Through the Access to Specialist Services programme Rainford Solutions received a grant towards the cost of the testing needed to get their product ready for the market.

Duncan continued: “The process has been quite straightforward. I was led through the process by Geoff Bates at the Chamber who explained exactly what I needed to do.”

After receiving the grant funding and gaining the accreditation, the product was pitched to new customers and has been successful with orders being taken, generating substantial new orders.

Duncan added: “After getting everything approved we went into the process of marketing the product and we sold an initial batch quite quickly. We now have a physical product to show people over the coming year we forecast it will be a key product for us.

“This will have a positive effect on local employment. We are a growing company and we have significantly increased employment on the shop floor in the last year.”

The Access to Specialist Services project offers grants of up to 35% of the cost of using external specialist services and consultancy. The programme can assist with a wide range of projects for business growth, such as support with tendering, marketing, and gaining industry accreditations.

Grant funding is available to St Helens-based SMEs, operating in a business-to-business capacity. The project is part of the New Markets 2 Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information on the Access to Specialist Services programme and the wide range of projects that can be supported, please contact John Woods at St Helens Chamber on 01744 742058.