The University of Huddersfield’s partnership with a local company specialising in railway engineering and infrastructure has garnered more success with an award at the prestigious KTP Best of the Best 2020 ceremony.

Mechanical engineering graduate Harvey Kangley won in the Future Innovators category at the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) awards for his work with Associated Utility Supplies (AUS), who are based in Clayton West near Huddersfield.

COVID-19 meant that the ceremony was held virtually, with over 500 people attending online. Harvey won in the Future Innovators category, and was praised for “...delivering exceptional new product development in rail electrification”.

Productive partnership brings rewards

The University and AUS have worked closely since 2016, with Harvey now working permanently following the end of a highly-successful three years with the firm as a KTP Associate. He was supervised by Professor Simon Barrans of the University’s School of Computing and Engineering, who had previously worked with AUS prior to Harvey’s tenure as a KTP Associate. 

“We’re delighted with the award for Harvey,” said AUS Managing Director Simon Gibson. “It shows what changes teamwork can bring about. We had the idea to bring in an associate through our partnership with the University, and it has worked out superbly. Harvey has worked closely with Mark Newton, our General Manager, as well as people throughout the company and this KTP award is the icing on the cake for a real team effort.” 

Study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Huddersfield

Harvey helped secure £721,000 in grants from the Department of Transport’s First of a Kind competition, which will be used on two projects over the next nine months. AUS and the University’s Institute of Railway Research (IRR) are collaborating on developing a novel clamp assembly that allows rapid, low-cost maintenance of overhead electric wires. In the second project, AUS are collaborating with the University’s Centre for Engineering Materials on the development of railway footbridges made from fibre-reinforced polymer that are simple to install.

“Securing two of these highly competitive First of a Kind grants is an outstanding achievement for the ongoing partnership between the University and AUS and would have been impossible without Harvey’s hard work,” commented Professor Barrans. 

"The KTP was a great opportunity and I’m really proud to have been involved in the programme," said Harvey

"The opportunity was not only for all of us involved, but also for the wider industries we were focused on; our ambition was to have a positive impact on the rail and electrical supply industries. We were able to provide solutions to challenges that had existed for decades.

"The team at AUS, the University and the KTN provided me with fantastic support and mentoring throughout the project. I think that this is the aspect of the KTP programme that has allowed it to run successfully for so many years.” 

Since working with AUS, Harvey has helped to instigate a formalised innovation, design and testing process that can be applied to a variety of projects.

Harvey Kangley and Simon Barrans of University of Huddersfield Harvey Kangley (left) with Professor Simon Barrans

Prior to Harvey’s time at AUS, the company had virtually no formalised product development process but several innovative pieces of work by Harvey have improved the approach to product development at AUS, and he now seen as have transformed the approach to this vital area. He is now seen as the ‘go-to person’ at AUS when customers demand products that are out of the ordinary.

Harvey’s achievements include:

  • establishing a design department, introducing the company to solid modelling and the benefits of using finite element analysis early in the design process
  • developing 31 entirely new products and improving the design of a further 25
  • establishing links with key suppliers, becoming the company’s technical point of contact with senior staff at Network Rail, HS2 and customers and technical authorities within the electrical supply industry.

University success at Best of the Best awards in consecutive years

Harvey’s success follows on from Sean Howson winning in the same category at the 2019 Best of the Best awards for his work developing software and hardware for Mainstream Measurements Limited, a local world leader in the development and manufacture of ultrasonic open channel flowmeters.

“Not only are our KTP winners actively bringing research into commercial business environments, but they are also bringing new ways of thinking, diverse experience and varied skill sets together to make a meaningful difference in building a sustainable economy and society,” said Alicia Greated, CEO of Knowledge Transfer Network.