Pontypool-based manufacturer, Flamgard Calidair, is playing a crucial role in the long-term operation to make the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster safe thanks to Welsh Government innovation support.
The firm has developed specialised fire and shut off dampers as part of a 10 year €1.5bn multinational engineering project to design and fit a new containment structure over the encased nuclear reactor.
In engineering terms, there are few live projects in the world currently as important or as ambitious as this initiative. The impact of the Welsh Government support given to Flamgard over the past eight years, has transformed it into an industry leader and global competitor.
It has received a total of £210,000 in funding to develop the specialist high temperature fire damper needed to fulfil the New Safe Confinement contract. Comprising of a £10,000 Welsh Government Smart Cymru grant (part of the European Regional Development Fund) to undertake a Technical & Commercial feasibility study; £100,000 of Smart Cymru funding for production and seismic testing of a product prototype in collaboration with Swansea University and an additional £100,000 from the Welsh Economic Growth Fund (WEGF) to purchase new laser-cutting equipment to fulfil the technical specification of the project.
This specialist manufacturer has since been exposed to new markets and gone on to secure similar sizeable contracts for the likes of Rolls Royce in the power generation industry; European naval submarines and the London Crossrail project – as it prepares to open its inaugural Elizabeth line later in 2018. The company has also received Welsh Government advice and support around Intellectual Property (IP) rights and patenting its technology to promote worldwide industry recognition and commercial benefits for its products. Support that has enabled it to double its work force to 63 skilled members of staff over the last 10 years – in line with the aspirations of the 2015 Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which aims to create a more prosperous Wales.
“The specialist funding, advice and support provided by the Welsh Government has had a huge impact on our business and helped us win big in the global marketplace. It’s given us access to academic expertise, driven new product innovation, doubled our company size and turnover and propelled us onto the world stage as leaders in our field. The opportunities out there for innovative, forward-thinking companies are endless and we’d encourage other Welsh innovators to follow our lead.”
Steve Edwards, Managing Director, Flamgard Calidair
• Significant R&D investment totalling £210,000 in grant funding – supporting more Welsh businesses to innovate.
• Access to academic expertise through Swansea University collaboration – R&D, automation and digitalisation. Universities have an important role as drivers for prosperity and growth.
• Global contract-wins on back of Chernobyl nuclear work – supporting exports and trade.
• Doubled company size (to 63 staff) and turnover in ten years – in line with the aspirations of the 2015 Wellbeing of Future Generations Act for a more prosperous Wales.