Time was when insulating a car involved little more than installing some matting and, if it was an earthmover or a tractor, the driver just put on a thicker jacket, some waterproofs and a set of ear defenders.
Not any more. Today’s agricultural and construction vehicles are designed with ergonomics and comfort in mind for an increasingly demanding client base.
It’s a technical business, involving high-resilience and visco-elastic foams, compression mouldings, laminates and a host of other hi-tech materials, designed to dampen vibrations, absorb noise, keep the temperature right and the weather out and protect the operator from injury.
Wherever it goes and whatever it does, each piece of insulation has to be millimetre perfect to ensure it fits to the cab and around accessories that nowadays include stereo systems, GPS trackers and IT equipment, without need for last-minute alterations on the production line.
What’s more, it’s got to look right, whether it is the roof liner or the side profile of the floor mats – irrelevant in a car, but, essential when they are at eye-level when you open a tractor’s door. All that is meat and drink to TMAT Acoustic Technologies, the fast-expanding Chesterfield firm that includes the top construction and agricultural plant manufacturers and their leading suppliers among its customers.
TMAT – the name stands for Tailor Made Acoustic Technologies – has secured its position as a valued supplier by developing a proprietary range of chemicals and composites, combined with hi-tech manufacturing technology and manual skills.
The Holmewood Industrial Park firm boasts a seven-axis water jet cutter and a range of tailor-made heated presses and compression moulding machines.
Its success is also based on an emphasis on continuing research and development and a willingness to work with customers to develop solutions for specific issues, which larger, volume producers of standard products are unable to provide.
Since the company was acquired by Jason Lippitt around five years ago, with backing from Advent Partners, it has been growing fast.
After expanding its workforce to around 125 employees, putting on additional shifts, investing in new equipment, further research and development, TMAT is now looking at opportunities in new markets around the world.