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Business & Economy

County Durham engineer launches shipping essential for worldwide market

A County Durham engineering business is preparing to launch a unique product developed for use in the shipping industry worldwide, which could lead to new jobs in the North East.

Hy-Dynamix™, started by Annfield Plain engineering company Dyer Engineering, created a moving system for a client that needed to shift shipping containers around its yard. But the introduction of new legislation by the International Maritime Organisation in July this year provided the opportunity to repurpose the equipment to create a second new product for the worldwide market.

The new SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea – regulations were introduced to ensure cargo ships are not overloaded following a number of problems caused by overweight containers, including the sinking of a ship off the West Indies when it got into difficulties in bad weather. The legislation requires that all shippers or freight forwarding companies accurately weigh their containers and receive a Verified Gross Mass certificate before loading.

Hy-Dynamix™ realised its hydraulic container moving system could be adapted into container weighing equipment. The Hy-Weigh™ is now patented and is preparing for its international launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Hy-Dynamix™ financial director, Richard Bradley, said: “There is a worldwide market. We’ve been to the major Intermodal trade exhibition in Rotterdam and had a very successful week where we received multiple enquiries.

“For new jobs, once we start production, we’ll be looking for five people and we aim to grow to a business of 30 people, from just three at the moment.”

The Hy-Weigh ™ will be manufactured at Dyer Engineering’s site. The company operates as a precision machining and fabrication business servicing many different industry sectors including rail, automotive and defence to name but a few. However, the business did not have experience in launching an own brand product.

As a result, it turned to RTC North for advice through the Government-backed Innovate2Suceed programme, which helps businesses to turn innovation challenges into commercial opportunities.

The programme, which is fully-funded for SMEs with 250 or fewer staff and turnovers below £40 million, provides up to seven days of practical support.  Hy-Dynamix™ also received support from business solutions company i2s. The Innovate2succeed project is supported by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Andrew Buckley, chief executive of RTC North said: “Hy-dynamix is set to grow through innovation, and is a fantastic example of how we work with ambitious local companies to help bring ideas to reality. New products and new jobs are key to the region’s economic confidence.”

RTC North expert David Boath worked with Hy-Dynamix™ to put together its product launch strategy. He said: “We took them through the Business Model Canvas Workshop to develop how the company would start to take the product to market.

“They needed a dealer network, international sales and customer support teams and maintenance guarantees. Hy-Dynamix™ has now taken the strategy we developed with them to take to lenders to raise funding to put it in place.”

Hy-Dynamix™ has three more ideas for its own brand products, one of which is in the pipeline, and now has the knowledge to market them to customers.

Richard Bradley said: “We approached RTC North through our networks, and they’ve been really good. We would do this again.”