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UK firms follow Olympic road to Rio

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 - 02:59

Oct. 16 - Small British firm Crux Product Design usually create medical devices, but a contract with UK Sport saw them design the gold medal-winning helmets worn by the Team GB cyclists at the London Games. Crux hopes the Olympic legacy will lead to work in new areas, while other specialist firms are looking at the road to Rio 2016. Joanna Partridge reports

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Turning a hobby into new business. The Crux Product Design team's love of cycling saw them swap the medical devices they usually make - for Olympic medal winning cycle helmets. The small British firm based in Bristol created this cutting-edge helmet for UK Sport. It was worn by gold medallists Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and the rest of TeamGB during the London Games. The company's director James West explains how it works. SOUNDBITE: James West, Director of Crux Product Design, saying (English): "What's very different about this helmet to a standard cycle helmet is we have an inside shell, this black plastic, there's a wicking fabric there so it's comfortable for the athlete. And then between that shell and the outer shell you can see this aluminium honeycomb, and that's the material that absorbs the energy in a crash. So the outside will deflect in crushing that, and that will be rebound." James founded Crux with Mark Teucher almost a decade ago. Their team of engineers and designers are more used to working with large pharmaceutical companies on drug dispensers - like asthma inhalers. They've sped up their design process by using a 3D printer to make component parts for prototypes. PTC "You wouldn't have thought that this asthma inhaler and this cycle helmet have much in common, but the technology used to design and build them is pretty much the same. Crux Product Design hope that working with UK Sport to design these helmets will end up leading to new projects in different sectors." SOUNDBITE: James West, Director of Crux Product Design, saying (English): "There's a lot of knowledge around airflow, and modelling that, and how to work with that, so that works well with the aerodynamic side of sporting equipment with the helmets. And then really what we sell here is innovative. So we have a team of very innovative people, you know the cream of the crop of designers and engineers, so we can sort of turn our hand to anything." Publicity about their helmet has brought Crux queries from companies in several countries. The Olympic legacy will be worth around £13 billion for UK firms over the next four years, according to Nick Baird, CEO of UK Trade and Investment - a government department which promotes British businesses abroad. SOUNDBITE: Nick Baird, Chief Executive of UKTI, saying (English): "Part of that will be extra trade and we went with the Prime Minister to Brazil a couple of weeks ago with a whole range of companies looking to access the opportunities there around the Rio World Cup and the Rio Olympic Games, and it's amazing how many different British companies will and can benefit from that." Crux have already been asked to design standard cycle and snowboarding helmets and are also planning their road to Rio. New work keeps rolling in - all thanks to the team's fondness for two wheels. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

UK firms follow Olympic road to Rio

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 - 02:59

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