Monday, July 21, 2014

News: Rotherham inventor set to save water worldwide

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Melvyn Davenport, a talented plastic injection moulding specialist, has embarked on an exciting business venture to develop a rainwater harvesting product in Rotherham.

Melvyn (70), who has recently established Melport Plastics which is based in a 14,000 sq ft unit in Dinnington, has been able to take advantage of an ERDF funded project called Growth and Prosperity in Rotherham (Soft Landing Zone) which is run by RiDO (Rotherham Investment & Development Office). As an SME based in Rotherham, Melport Plastics is eligible to access a mentor to help explore and develop international opportunities.

Melvyn has spent 30 years in the plastic industry, as an injection mould tool maker. A keen gardener, he recognised the issues that people face when hosepipe bans are in place in the summer, with the risk of fines of £1,000 if people use a hosepipe to water their garden or wash their car. He was also very aware of the water shortage here in the UK and in many countries around the world.

Melvyn put his expertise in plastics into play and designed an innovative T-shaped injection moulded component which can be retrofitted to any waste/grey and rainwater downpipe. It can also be fitted into any size of drainpipe and in both square or round shapes.

The new "WatFlow" product has undergone in-depth trials by Sheffield Hallam University, with great results and he has now applied for six worldwide patents. Watflow's two major benefits are that it filters water before it is deposited into a water butt and it features an automatic overflow that means when the butt is full, any excess water is returned through the same method to the external drainage system. The beauty of the system is that it can be installed by a competent DIY-er, rather than needing a plumber to fit it.

Melvyn recently won a grant of £5k from the Government which he has used to pay for securing the international patents and for Sheffield Hallam University to carry out work to produce a prototype using its innovative FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology.

Melvyn has received support from Nathan Woodcock, business development co-ordinator who has recently been appointed by RiDO's Soft Landing Zone.

Nathan Woodcock, business development co-ordinator for RiDO (pictured, right), said: "I carried out in-depth research into the route to market through garden centres, builders and plumbers merchants both here in the UK and in three other countries with chronic water shortage problems – South Africa, Egypt and India. This meant we were able to provide Melvyn with relevant contacts for suitable retail outlets for his product and with business support organisations and associations that could help him in these countries. This has given Melvyn a firm basis for building his business and we are very excited about how his invention could take off across the world.

"Our advice to Rotherham companies looking to export is that, no matter what stage your business is at, there are so many opportunities out there to grow and expand your company into overseas markets."

Melvyn Davenport (pictured, left), added: "I've had some great support from RiDO and with Nathan's help I have been able to identify new markets overseas. Nathan has carried out lots of research, which I simply would not have had the time or contacts to do. I am very excited to be almost at the stage when I can begin production, as Watflow can save an average household or business up to 75% off their water bills."

RiDO website

Images: RiDO

1 comments:

matt willox October 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM  

FYI: the FDM process is over a decade old, not exclusive to SHU and can hardly be described as innovative any more.

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