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UCLan partnership leads to company’s Queen’s Award for Enterprise

02 May 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Luxury bed manufacturer’s reaps rewards following University collaboration

Biomechanics experts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have contributed to a manufacturing business’ success in the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Luxury bed manufacturer Harrison Spinks is celebrating after being named as the winner of two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the innovation and sustainable development categories.

The Yorkshire company’s collaborative work with UCLan’s biomechanics experts has contributed towards its success in the innovation category after they worked together to develop pocket spring comfort technology that can be used in running shoes.

The company is aiming to reduce impact on the runner by integrating its unique height pocket springs into the sole of the running shoe, replacing the traditional foam base.

Harrison Spinks is working closely with UCLan Biomechanics expert Professor Jim Richards and colleague Melissa Sutcliffe to run intensive tests assessing whether the modified shoe reduces impact on the foot during running and its potential to reduce sports injuries and improve performance. The technology works by embedding Micro Pocket Springs into the mid sole to provide suspension and is already used in bedding and automotive seating.

“The Awards recognise the commitment to excellence that we all share at Harrison Spinks and reflect the fact that innovation and sustainability are at the very heart of our business.”

Commenting on the Awards, Harrison Spinks managing director Simon Spinks said: “The Awards recognise the commitment to excellence that we all share at Harrison Spinks and reflect the fact that innovation and sustainability are at the very heart of our business. We are dedicated to continuous improvement, so we will remain focused on developing products that enhance comfort wherever they can be applied.”

The UCLan team are currently using state-of-the-art movement analysis equipment to test the next generation running shoe technology which Harrison Spinks hopes to eventually sell to shoe manufacturers.

Professor Jim Richards commented: “It’s fantastic news that Harrison Spinks has been recognised for its enterprising and innovative approach to business. Since embarking on this knowledge transfer partnership Harrison Spinks has benefitted from the wealth of expertise on offer at UCLan."

“By working with UCLan the manufacturing company has received the independent scientific data needed to move to the next stage of development. We hope to continue with this successful relationship and pioneering research.”

The Leeds-based company is believed to be the first UK bed manufacturer to have won two such awards in the same year. Only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category, the Awards for Enterprise are made annually by Her Majesty The Queen and are considered to be the most prestigious accolades for businesses and individuals in the UK.