Engineering firm going for global growth during lockdown

Mechanical engineering firm Smartflow Couplings is forging new global relationships despite the lockdown, as it prepares to introduce its latest product innovations to the oil, gas and chemical industries.

The manufacturer, which is based in Scunthorpe and Harrogate, is hosting video calls with global distributors after a busy schedule of worldwide meetings and exhibitions was put on hold by the pandemic.

Smartflow produces dry break couplings and was recently given the green light to test its newly designed products, thanks to a £173,000 funding deal from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The products have been designed to drastically reduce the time taken to perform critical loading operations without spillage, compared to traditional coupling methods.

The reduced number of parts improves safety and efficiency by eliminating spills.

The new couplings will be tested over the coming months at two of the UK’s top testing facilities, the National Engineering Laboratory in Glasgow and National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, ready for launch early next year.

Managing director Gary Thompson said he had been planning to visit a number of high profile events and seminars this spring and summer, including the Offshore Technology Conference in the US, where he was to present the technology to experts in the energy and petrochemical sector.

He added: “There is huge interest in this technology due to the significant cost and environmental benefits which means we have still been able to engage with potential partners and distributors around the world, albeit virtually.

“Over the coming months we will be strengthening these relationships through video conferencing, sharing live data from the testing labs with our prospective international distributors and preparing to push ahead with an ambitious export strategy in 2021.

“We expect to announce a number of strategic global partnerships this year which will support our plans to increase turnover and create new engineering jobs in the North.”