Research and development underpins TMAT’s success and distinguishes the Chesterfield firm from its competitors.
While they buy materials off the shelf from the big chemicals companies, TMAT lives up to what its initials stand for – Tailor Made Acoustic Technologies.
“We do everything from scratch,” says Jason Lippitt. “We buy raw materials, mix them together to our own recipe and make products to our own formulation.
“It gives us a cost advantage and we can tailor products to customers’ requirements.
“Our competitors have a different strategy. Theirs is a commodity approach, buying a system off the shelf or squashing fibres together. We like to think we are better because we formulate our own materials.”
Although TMAT’s formulas are unique, it has opted not to patent them because it believes they are protected by their inherent complexity, the firm’s continuing R&D programme and its refusal to sell products or license formulas for other manufacturers to use.
“We are a small company, but we are the best in the world. They are our formulations and we worked hard to develop them – and I wouldn’t sell them material either,” says Jason.
TMAT believes another attraction for both the Original Equipment Manufacturers and independent cab manufacturers who supply some of them is the fact that it can supply a range of products suited to different applications and in low volumes.
Whatever the vehicle, there is a good chance that it will need several types of insulation – to reduce noise, cut vibration, stop heat coming through bulkheads separating the cab from the engine, ensure the cab is watertight and to protect users from bumps and scrapes.
“We can offer customers such a wide variety of parts and the fact that we can offer high and low volumes gives us an edge over our competitors,” says TMAT’s financial controller, Laura Bawden.
“If a customer has some low-volume parts and some high-volume parts, we can be their one supplier. We also work in detail with cab manufacturers on design and can make use of natural fibres and recycled materials, depending on how green they want to be.”
TMAT is determined to maintain its technological lead. “We spend an awful lot of time on R&D. I’m passionate about it because you have to evolve or you will die,” says Jason Lippitt.
And, it isn’t just new formulations of insulating materials that the company is developing. It is also working with alternatives to aluminium for making tooling.
New materials could cut the time needed to make a tool to a fraction, reducing costs and making it easy to rapidly produce prototypes for customers, boosting TMAT’s flexibility and ability to respond even further.