Designed In Rotherham/Made In Sheffield – The Perfect Combination

With the reorganisation of the business support landscape, the concept of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) was born, of which ours is the Sheffield City Region (SCR).

One of the key projects supported by the SCR LEP is the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District or AMID for short.

AMID map

The SCR describe AMID in these terms “Innovation Districts are a recent trend in urban planning. In short, these districts cluster cutting-edge research facilities in working areas that are also liveable, walkable, bikeable and have good transport links.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) between Sheffield and Rotherham has seen over a decade of development, propelled by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s partnership with global brands including Boeing, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems. Sheffield City Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and The University of Sheffield are working together to establish this area as the UK’s first Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District; combining and growing the successes of the AMP and the Sheffield Business Park.”

Fripp Design and Research are located right in the centre of AMID and this is a key reason why clients choose us for their product design and industrial design projects. Within a five mile radius of our office we have access to 95% of our entire design supply chain. From CAD software to rapid prototyping services, all our key suppliers are a five minute drive of the AMP. This allows us to respond quickly to client needs and client changes to their design brief. And as the AMP is located in Rotherham it is very true to say that we design in Rotherham and we make in Sheffield.

The Power of Social Media Requires Respect!

In the past 5 years, Fripp Design and Research has come to understand the power and importance of Social Media. It has helped the company to secure continuous customers for our Industrial Design and Product Design services at a fraction of what it would have cost using the traditional marketing techniques of ‘cold calling’ ‘advertising’ and ‘mailshots’.

It’s beauty is in the ability to bring together, those with problems and those with solutions, at the time when the problem occurs and a solution is sort. But you need to be clear to the holders of the problem that they know you have the solution they are seeking.

And this is where we got it wrong in the last quarter of 2014.

Some may know that Fripp Design and Research have a decade of experience in the use of 3D Printing prototypes for our clients as part of our Industrial Design services. This has lead to our discovery of how to 3D Print silicone using the Picsima process.

What then happened is we used the social media tools we have developed to promote Fripp Design and Research, to promote Picsima. This lead to the Fripp Design and Research brand being more associated with 3D Printing rather than what our core business is; solving problems for clients using our Industrial and Product design skills.

In December we separated our social media activities between Fripp Design and Research (Industrial Design and Product Design) and Picsima (3D Printing) and we have seen a real turn around in the quantity and quality of Industrial Design enquiries for Fripp Design and Research. Although we, as a business, are excited about the prospects for Picsima (as a technology), we still love the world of Industrial Design and we hope this is reflected through our use of twitter and other social media outlets.

The lesson we have learnt is that social media is very important to your brand and how customers perceive and understand your brand. So when launching new services and new products, make sure you use social media responsibly so as not to confuse customers about what you do and what they should buy from you.

To follow what we are doing with Picsima, you can follow us on twitter here.

We’re Industrial Designers First – Honest

In recent months, most people involved in the 3D Print industry have come to know us because of the breakthrough technology we have developed in 3D Printing cross linked polymers.

This is generating a lot of publicity for us, which we are very grateful for, but publicity can be a double edge sword!

What is really important, to us, is that we remain best known for our innovative industrial design and product design capabilities, skills that have helped our clients generate millions of pounds in revenues and profits.

Ironically, it was an industrial design challenge that lead to the breakthrough in 3D Printing silicone. When we were commissioned to develop a method for 3D Printing soft tissue prostheses using ‘off the shelf’ technology, the Maxillofacial Profession were uncomfortable about a prostheses that was not made from silicone (because this is the material they are most familiar with). Like any good industrial design business, we wanted to overcome these concerns and the idea for 3D Printing silicone was born.

This problem solving ethos lies at the heart of everything we do. So, although we are very proud of our association with a ground breaking 3D Print technology, we still get the greater buzz from helping clients turn our 7 stage methodology, in design, into 7 figure money.

We look forward to you contacting us so we can help turn your idea into 7 figure revenues as well.

Picsima Press Release – TCT + Personalize Show

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Fripp Design and Research to Pre Launch Picsima Bureau Service for 3D Printing Silicone at TCT Show + Personalize

Leading UK Industrial and Product Design practice Fripp Design and Research will be exhibiting at the UK’s leading show on 3D Printing and Additive manufacturing; TCT + Personalize. They are pleased to announce the launch of their new bureau service for 3D Printing Silicone, coming in 2015.

“We have spent the past 18 months developing our method for 3D Printing Silicone” stated Tom Fripp, Director at Fripp Design and Research.

Under their Picsima brand, Fripp Design and Research will have on display a range of 3D Printed silicone parts to demonstrate the versatility and capability of their 3D Print technology. “Because we are using commercially available silicones, we are creating 3D Printed parts with the material characteristics provided by the source manufacture, but without the need to create a mould and then vacuum cast; we simply 3D Print them”, continued Fripp “That means we can make parts very soft, extremely durable and capable of being steralised if required and we take out an entire process compared to other polymer based 3D Printing technologies; who needs to cast silicone anymore?”.

The company is already making parts for beta test site clients. “Like all our Industrial Design projects, client feedback is an essential element of a successful project. TCT + Personalise is a fantastic opportunity for us to show test parts so we can gauge the response from the 3D Print industry as we continue to fine tune the technology” concluded Fripp.

The company claim they will achieve 10 Shore A with temperature ranges from -30OC up to 250OC, performance levels never achieved before in the 3D Printing of Silicone.

Picsima can be seen on stand K31 at TCT + Personalize which takes place at the NEC from September 20th to October 2nd 2014.

About Fripp Design and Research

Sheffield based Fripp Design and Research specialise in Product Design, Concept Design, Industrial Design and Rapid Prototyping. The design team are Masters Graduates in their specialist subjects. The company use Solidworks, Rhino, Bunkspeed Hypershot, Magics and Mimics software and own a number of rapid prototyping machines.

The customer base is broad; from blue chip companies, to UK leading universities, to individual inventors and entrepreneurs. The company were involved in the design of the Comic Relief ‘Honkus’ Red Nose and have appeared on Channel5’s, the Gadget Show. Clients also include; Fellowes, Rolls Royce, Proware Kitchen, Sagentia Group, Nestlé and The Wellcome Trust.

In addition to client work, Fripp Design and Research are involved in a number of in house product developments ranging from DIY to healthcare.

The company’s contact details are:

Fripp Design Limited
The AMP Technology Centre
Brunel Way
S60 5WG

T: 0114 254 1244

Press contact:

Steve Roberts

Top 10 influencers on 3D Printing – Are you kidding?

We have just come across this

What utter nonsense this is.

For us, the most influential input to 3D Printing is Gartner and their report about the state of consumer 3D Printing.

What everyone forgets, who do not understand what 3D Printing is really all about, is that 3D Printing is NOT a natural extension of 2D Printing.

Any of us can 2D Print because we are all programmed with 2D brains. It’s called text, drawing and picture taking (which we then insert into a document to 2D Print).

To 3D Print requires years of training, training to understand the impact of gravity on printing in 3D, training to understand the constraints of the materials used and the impact it has on the functionality of the part being produced, training on the constraints of the software you use to create the 3D object in the first place. By the way it is called Product/Industrial Design!

We do agree about Avi, we disagree about Meg (what does she know about 3D Printing?) and we would have included Scott Crump (Chairman and CTO at Stratasys) and Al Sablani (who owns Envisiontec).

Another one to watch is Dr Hans J Langer of EOS, he is actively investing in 3D Printer companies.

GCSE Results day – What Next?

To all the young people of the UK who have received their GCSE results today, congratulations and we hope you achieved the grades you were looking for.

For many of you, the next decision is ‘what next?’. A Levels, Apprenticeship or a job? three very difficult choices which need careful consideration.

From an SME employer perspective, here is some advice. Feel free to ignore it as it is only an opinion.

Whatever you choose to do, you have to remember you are competing with tens of thousands of others, of your age, who will be all asking the same 3 questions. So how can you make sure you give yourself the best chance, whatever you decide to do?

We would argue be honest with yourself first.

If you plan to stay on and study for ‘A’ Level, are you sure that you have the academic rigor to gain the grades you will need to go on to university to do a degree that will have worth to an employer afterwards? If the answer is yes, knuckle down, work hard and get the grades you need. Doing ‘A’ levels simply for the sake of it (or because you like the subject) might not translate into a bankable job opportunity afterwards.

If ‘A’ levels are not for you, then look to a modern apprenticeship. They have the advantage of introducing you to the world of work, give you the opportunity to ‘earn why you learn’ and can still open up academic opportunities for you in the future.

And if you are desperate to want to work, that is fine, but you may end up doing the same type of work for a very long time (50 very long years at least; something you may come to regret.

Whatever you choose to do, we wish you every success as you continue on your life journey. Work hard (and play hard…but get the balance right!) because the world of work will get more interesting and, hopefully, more enjoyable as your future work career progresses.

And Industrial Design as a career? Very rewarding but very risky! Most ‘design practices’ are ‘one man bands’. If it is a career in design you want, look to engineering Design, the future for engineers is very bright indeed.

Why we love competition

We had an interesting phone call the other week. As we’re a friendly bunch who respect many other design companies, we chat with them on a regular basis.

The conversation was to do with a client we have been working with (and who we won from this other design company, albeit we didn’t know this until they contacted us). We knew this client had additional projects and we assumed (and would encourage them) to ‘shop around’ to make sure we are offering value for money; and this is what they did.

Our competitor phoned to ask if we would be offended if they bid for the new project (they are a really nice design firm) and we said ‘absolutely not’.

Forget the legal implications of a ‘cartel’, our attitude is competition is good and we encourage it whenever we can. Why? Because it ensures we never get complacent and we continue to deliver exceptional design and ‘value for money’ to our clients.

But it never fails to amaze us about how some companies inflate the value of their design capability. Recently we won a project where one competitor bid £18K, another £6K and we bid £5K. Needless to say we got the project. Does this mean we should be charging more? Again, absolutely not. We know what exceptional value is and it has worked for us for 9 years so why change a winning formula?

TSB Innovation Vouchers – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

As an Industrial Design practice that has been designing products since 2005, we have seen many government grant schemes come and go.

One of the more endearing grant schemes are Innovation Vouchers. Innovation Vouchers were, originally, developed by the previous Government and administered by regional Business Links. The scheme was open to any UK tax payer who wanted to innovate to create a competitive advantage and we are proud to say that, in the Yorkshire & Humber region, Fripp Design and Research were delivering 1 in 5 of all Innovation Vouchers.

With the change in Government and the demise of the Business Links, the Technology Strategy Board have taken over their administration and have changed they way they operate. Based on our extensive experience of delivering Innovation Vouchers, we do have some objective views on the way they now operate.

The Good

Under the old scheme, the bureaucracy of obtaining an Innovation Vouchers was fairy intense (given the Innovation Voucher value was £3500). Under the new regime, the process of applying for an Innovation Voucher is much simpler.

One thing we are really pleased with is the method by which suppliers, clients and the Technology Strategy Board operate. As with the old scheme, the contractual relationship is maintained between the client and the supplier. This means that if the supplier fails to delight the client, then the client will not pay (as in any commercial transaction). The Technology Strategy Board pay the client once the supplier confirms that they have been paid. This is the right approach (and we wish more grant schemes worked in the same way, ensuring the UK tax payer gets value for money).

The Bad

Under the old scheme, there was little direction about what markets and projects could be supported by Innovation Vouchers (there were a few exceptions such as financial services and certain retail activities, but other than that, it was the idea that mattered rather than the market the client operates in) . However, under the new scheme, the Technology Strategy Board dictate the themes for which a grant will be allowed. We think this is fundamentally wrong. Innovation comes in all shapes and forms, including the markets where the innovation will be applied. Ultimately it is about making UK SMEs more competitive. We never think ‘top down’ intervention works in any market and we think this should also apply for Innovation Vouchers too.

Although we have huge respect for the team at the Technology Strategy Board, they are not custodians of markets (if they were, then they would be making billions for themselves). The whole purpose of an Innovation Vouchers is to stimulate new innovation and new opportunity, for a very low cost to the tax payer. We can certainly see the benefit of themes for higher value grants, but Innovation Vouchers should be free to seed new ideas and new business opportunities wherever they are happening (as long as they are legal of course!).

The Ugly

If you want an Innovation Vouchers, you cannot use an existing supplier. We believe this to be folly. As with any client/supplier relationship, there is a period of time that is used to develop the relationship. This relationship is about establishing respect, trust and the necessary market awareness for the innovation the client has in mind. Insisting that you cannot use an existing supplier restricts the potential true value that could be obtained from your £5,000 Innovation Voucher.

We know the Technology Strategy Board are concerned that Innovation Vouchers might be misused (because of the trusting relationships that becomes established between clients and suppliers), but fraudulent use of public money is a criminal offence and we know for certain that the Directors at Fripp Design and Research have no desire to ‘do time’!

In conclusion, we like the simplicity of the new Innovation Vouchers process, we do not like the fact that the vouchers are thematic and we think it is fundamentally wrong that clients cannot use suppliers they already work with and trust.

However we are really pleased that the Government continues to see their value.

How would you 3D Print with Silicone?

Although Fripp Design and Research continue to be at the forefront of Industrial and Product design in the UK, we are getting a lot of interest in our method for 3D Printing silicone.

To be absolutely honest, we invented it to overcome an objection by some anaplastologists in our use of starch as the framework for 3D Printing soft tissue prostheses; it was a ‘we will show them’ moment!

So we have a technology that is looking for applications and markets. So if you think you might have an application for 3D Printing silicone, then please get in touch at

Please remember the following:

1. If you think your idea might have potential IP, please make sure you sign a NDA with us first, we want to make sure you get the full value and reward for your idea (remember we have the technology and we need you to have the idea)
2. Our technology requires no support materials at all, so there is plenty of ‘design freedom’ scope for whatever idea you may come up with
3. Our technology is not yet fully developed, so please do not expect to become rich overnight, however what you would do is influence the development path of the technology from here

So, it is over to you. Thinking caps on. We are looking for serious applications where there is an identified market need where the volumes would justify our mutual efforts.