An innovation incubator at an award-winning Sheffield firm has helped two local tradesmen come up with the answer to an electrician’s nightmare.
Incub, the innovation department at Savile Street East-based wire joining and tensioning company Gripple, stepped in when self-employed builder Dave Bostock and engineer Paul Smith were struggling to turn the ingenious idea into reality.
Dave had his ‘light bulb moment’ while watching an electrician struggle to feed wires through the holes he had drilled in a cavity wall.
His answer is a drill with a plastic sleeve that is left in the wall once the drill is removed, allowing wires to be fed through without dropping into the cavity.
Dave and Paul made a prototype and took it to Incub, which helped them find funding, apply for patents and produce CAD drawings, in addition to assisting with rapid prototyping, marketing and logistics.
Now, their company, Conxa, is poised to launch a finished and packaged product – dubbed Thru-in-1.
Dave and Paul readily admit that they would not have had a product but for Gripple.
Gripple’s special projects manager, Gordon Macrae, said: “All Conxa components are made by companies with a Sheffield postcode. With our support they have a better product, a more robust business plan and they have brought it to market much quicker.”
The market could be huge, particularly with more than 30 million smart meters due to be installed in homes and commercial properties by 2020 as part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change initiative.
“Gas fitters, electricians, CCTV installers, Sky installers, BT Openreach installers – they are all potential customers,” says Dave Bostock.
The launch of Conxa will also help the homeless as Emmaus, a homeless charity based in a nearby steel mill, is handling e-commerce sales, packing and the dispatch of the Thru-in-1 as well as providing Conxa with an office.
Gordon Macrae can be contacted at Incub, tel: 0114 228 8659.