Sheffield Hallam has collaborated with a local firm to develop new small horseboxes and trailers with habitation for the North American market.
Equi-Trek, based in Stockbridge, has grown to be the largest horsebox / trailer manufacturer in the UK. With over 30 models, they have widely established export markets throughout Europe and as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. However until now, there has been almost no European vehicle manufacturer presence in the North American market.
Across the automotive and leisure vehicle sector the ability to efficiently and cost effectively design for parameters such as space utilisation, comfort and light-weighting has become a key market differentiator.
Equi-Trek’s designs tended to ‘evolve’ using iterative design methods and the company recognised the need to adopt a ‘right first time’ robust approach to design. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) has enabled Equi-Trek to enhance all aspects of their new product development processes, including ergonomics, spatial design, technical analysis, manufacture and testing, and to become an innovation knowledge leader in the sector.
The knowledge transfer was applied to the development of a small horsebox for the North American market (US, Mexico and Canada). This was in line with the company’s strategic aim of expanding into these global markets.
The programme provided a New Product Design methodology by which new market compliant models could be quickly added to their portfolio, and knowledge applied across their domestic / European range of horseboxes, horse trailers and motorhome vehicles.
Tom Janion, MD of Equi-Trek said: “The KTP was a great success for which we are already reaping the benefits. The project has helped Equi-Trek to enter new horseboxes into diverse markets, establishing long term benefits to the business and increasing market shares both domestically and overseas.”
Anthony Jones, principal industrial designer at Design Futures and academic supervisor for the KTP said: “The KTP was a fantastic experience, a great way for academic staff to interact with companies, to develop their knowledge of different sectors to further understand current industry practice. This successful KTP has reinforced the role that the University has in the region’s manufacturing and wider business community, and contributes to the University strategy, specifically our ‘Leading locally and engaging globally’ initiative.”
Professor Paul Chamberlain, Director Lab4Living and academic lead for the KTP said “The project contributes to the University’s focus on ‘local and global’ and exemplifies and supports the institution’s strategy and ambition to establish itself as the leading applied University.”
The KTP Associate on the two year programme was David Arnold, who was selected for the nationally advertised post, following his graduation from Sheffield Hallam University in 2018 with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering.