CMS Industries Knowledge Transfer Partnership
BRINGING MOTORSPORT TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION TO OFFICE FURNITURE DESIGN
Find out how motorsport engineering techniques are bringing a fresh approach to the design of office furniture components, reducing costs and creating IP in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KEP) project between Oxford Brookes University and CMS Industries.
Modern office furniture design involves complex requirements, predominantly due to increased emphasis on ergonomics, aesthetics, and end-of-life commitments (removal of furniture at end-of-life is now an additional up-front cost to the supplier). Re-use or re-cycling is also increasingly important due to new legislation. At the same time, there is constant pressure for reduced cost, which is typically achieved by seeking the lowest labour costs. UK and European manufacturers cannot easily compete against Asia-based competitors that rely upon labour-intensive designs, and this contributes to the current market stagnation.
The Joining technology research centre (JTRC) and Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (MEMS) department at Oxford Brookes University have formed a partnership with CMS Industries, one of the largest UK suppliers in the office seating components sector with clients such as Boss Design (www.boss-design.co.uk), Senator (www.senator.co.uk) and Verco (www.verco.co.uk).
CMS develops sub assembly components for use in the production of office chairs, with its own dedicated in-house design team. CMS also designs, produces and supplies a number of ergonomic solutions for holding flat screen monitors in the office environment (see www.cmsergonomics.com).
The main focus of the project is the development of innovative engineering and design, focusing on lightweighting, materials, joining technology and manufacture for rapid assembly and disassembly, using technologies developed for the automotive and motorsport sectors.
The project is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. KTPs enable companies like CMS Industries to get knowledge and expertise out of universities and put them to use in business. A key component is the KEP Associate, a recent graduate recruited by the university to lead the project in the company, under supervision from academic experts.