Thursday, May 12, 2016

News: Bromley Technologies at the cutting edge

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Bromley Technologies, the innovative firm based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, is looking at the use of graphene as it aims to become the most advanced sliding sport product manufacturer in the world.

Founded as an indirect spin out from a BAE Systems sports technology initiative, Bromley Sports specialises in athlete-focused engineering technology, with a state-of-the-art test facility that helps finesse sporting talent.

Veteran slider Kristan Bromley, co-founded the business with his brother, Richard. It is based inside the AMP Technology Centre and supplied 22 nations at the 2014 Winter Olympics, including Britain, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Korea. It can count over 150 medal successes to its product/customer's names.

The firm ships between 100 and 200 bespoke sleds to athletes around the world, and is currently moving into the recreational arena, having designed and developed a patented sled for an exciting new snow activity, Baseboarding.

Bromley recently signed an MOU with Versarien plc, an AIM quoted advanced engineering materials group, which will see the two companies collaborate on the development of graphene enhanced carbon fibre products using Versarien's graphene nano platelets.

Versarien's 2 Dimensional Products division was founded in 2012 at The University of Manchester, where graphene was first isolated. It is focused on the development and production of graphene platelets and the acceleration of commercial applications for graphene and graphene products.

Graphene is light, 200 times stronger than steel, but it is incredibly flexible. It is the thinnest material possible as well as being transparent.

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Bromley Technologies has particular expertise in carbon fibre composite structures and it is intended that Versarien will collaborate in the design and testing of a wide variety of graphene enhanced composite structures, using Versarien's patented process which involves mechanised exfoliation in which a strong shearing force is applied to the surface of the graphene layers.

The initial focus is expected to be on products in the elite sports area, where the early adoption of new technology to gain a performance advantage is common place. These products are also expected to showcase the use of graphene in carbon fibre composite structures more widely.

Dr Kristan Bromley, CEO of Bromley Technologies, said: "The opportunities that Graphene technologies offer within the sports industry are disruptive and extremely exciting. We are delighted to be working with Versarien plc in exploring these opportunities. Our mission at Bromley Technologies is to develop high performance sports products that help athletes win medals on the world stage.

"With a focus on developing new Skeleton innovations for use at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, we are positioned as a business to continue to push boundaries and in doing so tap into a new era of technology."

Yun Sungbin (pictured in action), a rising star in Skeleton, will be in contention for Olympic gold in his home country of South Korea. Using a Bromley sled, Yun ended the recent World Cup season ranked no. 2, winning six medals including an historic silver medal at the IBSF world championships in Austria.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien plc, said: "We are delighted to be working with Dr Bromley and his team. I am particularly excited by the prospect of the addition of Versarien's graphene technology to products being developed for elite international athletes, delivering significant performance gains in sports where success is measured in fractions of a second. Elite sport also acts a clear proving ground and demonstrator for cutting edge technologies that can then be applied to mass market applications."

With more than 60 carbon fibre and stainless steel components in the skeleton sled, and the prospect of mass producing Baseboards, Bromley is bringing manufacturing in-house.

Bromley Sports website
Versarien website

Images: IBSF / Youtube

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