Sheffield based Birley Manufacturing is riding high having been awarded a Technology Strategy Board grant to develop a new toilet module design, confirming their expertise and increasingly innovative design capabilities.
The grant of up to £250k has been awarded through the Smart scheme which tackles the funding gap that is often experienced by SME’s with original ideas and high growth ambition and potential.
Birley will work with APA Design and Datum Composites on an initial prototype with the eventual roll out of units across UK and European markets.
The Technology Strategy Board Smart scheme offers co-funding to UK-based companies to carry out science, engineering and technology R&D projects.
Birley have been awarded a Development of Prototype grant, the funding being provided for companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or innovative process.
The Universally Accessible Toilet Module (UAT), for use on trains, is being designed to provide excellent structural integrity in a modular construction and will be fully compliant with Technical Specifications for Interoperability (PRM-TSI) requirements.
The unit will offer access to people of reduced mobility as well as the able-bodied. By 2020 rolling stock companies are required to provide UAT’s in their train carriages.
The key benefit of the Birley UAT module is that the sealed one piece floor moulding prevents the leakage of liquids and so reduces the risk of under floor corrosion.
The unit will contain a range of attractive and useful features including LED lighting, a hand cleansing system with hygienic infra-red activation, a hinged mirror cabinet and baby changing unit.
The modern, fresh interior can be adapted to match the style and colour way of any vehicle.
Birley Manufacturing has been a specialist in the train sector for over two decades and are the UK’s largest supplier of under-frame skirts.
Recent investment in skills and technology has meant that Birley are now able to work towards the supply of total interior packages for trains.
One of their most recent projects has been to supply internal panels for Class 321 vestibules to Wabtec for Eversholt Rail Group.
James Taylor, business development manager, Rail, at Birley said:
“Initial reactions to the UAT have been very positive and we are confident that this unit will surpass expectations in meeting the needs of modern rolling stock companies.
“The development of the toilet module is down to the successful partnership between Datum, APA and Birley and is testimony to the experience and skilled workmanship that Birley are capable of.
“We had no reservations in awarding Birley Manufacturing a Smart Scheme Development of Prototype grant.
“The project is perfectly timed to meet the changes in transport legislation and Birley have demonstrated that they have the skills to create a superior, well-designed and innovative product,” commented the Technology Strategy Board.”
Birley Manufacturing is the UK’s largest producer of under carriage protective side skirts and egress internal sliding doors.
They also supply rail infrastructure projects with ticket counters, signal box and Customer Service Points in both wood and metal and have supplied a full range of interior trim items over 20 years, working for some of the country’s top rail operators.