Spinks, the components supplier to the mattress and furniture industries, has secured an Innovate UK grant, to introduce the use of its spring technology to automotive seating.

The grant, awarded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, will be used to assist the funding of the £450,000 spring technology project. Moving the automotive industry away from the use of foam within its seating, the ground-breaking project will provide comfort, stability and circularity, using a range of spring technologies that can be easily recycled at the end of life.

Collaborating with AHD Design; specialists in transportation seating, will enable full use of their knowledge and expertise in automotive seating design. The project will enable the integration of Spinks innovative spring technology into various vehicle applications.

Darren Marcangelo, Managing Director at Spinks commented on the project: “We’re extremely grateful to have secured a grant from Innovate UK and to be working with AHD Design on this project. The grant funding will go a long way in helping us create new spring technologies as well as helping the automotive industry reach its sustainable goals for the future.

“Being extremely passionate about sustainability, we will create products which help to reduce the need for some, or all of the foam currently used and ensure that its components within an automotive seating application can be recycled at the end of its life.

“The transportation sector is an incredibly exciting space for us, and we are already working with some of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers. There’s a huge amount of potential for our spring technology, and we hope to investigate wider sectors including aviation, buses and trains in the future.”

To ensure optimum safety testing, the project will have a three-phased testing system before a final prototype will be created for external testing.

Mark Pilling, Director at AHD Design said: “The Innovate UK project could be a fundamental step change in the way seating could be approached. It is not without some engineering challenges, but it has the potential to create a minor revolution in seating design that will create an evolving reduction in the seat weight and environmental impact of the seating at its end of life. The weight reduction is a target to all industries, but reducing the entire vehicle mass reduces the dynamic effects of mass, and the power, fuel or electricity required, thereby increasing range or reducing the required battery capacity.

“The opportunities for the rail industry are also a focus, as the reduction in flammability and toxicity of the smoke will allow underground rail travel to become safer worldwide. For the aerospace industry where, in addition, weight is key, there will also be a significant benefit.”