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Underside of metal tube used to make stair bannister

Innovation Studio

Timeless Engineering Ltd.

Industry-engagement and our strong maker culture puts collaboration at the heart of everything we do.

Timeless Engineering Ltd.

Exploring the possibilities and limitations of uniquely shaped metal tube profiles for architecture and infrastructure. Supported by European Regional Development Funding (ERDF).

About the project

Initial funding was used to create a developed design for a high-end balustrade and handrail system using three of Timeless Tube’s unique profiles; a D-shaped tube handrail with twisted oval spindles and radiused square newel posts with connectors and fixings.

After testing the concept of this system with industry professionals, Timeless decided to shift focus to explore the wider possibilities that the tube profiles offer architects – not only for handrail and balustrades, but other infrastructure. This refocus has enabled Timeless to demonstrate and market the capabilities of new profiles, connectors, and finishes, creating a broader appeal for the profiles amongst architects and product designers.

Timeless also invested in customised tooling, polishing equipment and bespoke jigs for oval profiles; this new equipment has created several efficiencies, allowing for more complex marine fabrication work to be taken on.

Connectors for dry-joining tubes

Timeless used ERDF funding to design and fabricate a dry-fit joining system that allows for instances where onsite welding is not an option – especially useful for handrail applications in both the marine and construction industries.

New profiles – the radiused rectangle and the teardrop

A unique rectangular profile with gently contoured edges was created as an attractive alternative to standard round tube or angular bar section for marine handrail and applications such as stowable onboard furniture for tenders and day-boats. After finding a desirable size for this profile (58 x 34mm), engineers tested its bend capability on a triple roller machine to ensure that it can withstand the sweeping bends required on yachts.

Timeless also developed an asymmetrical teardrop-shaped profile for a riverside railing at London’s Chelsea Embankment. This wing-shaped profile required new tooling to achieve the required dimensions (137 x 50mm), as well as tests to ascertain the optimal wall thickness (2mm).

Exploring finishes and processes – what's possible for the profiles

The ERDF funding provided valuable resource for investigative work into different metals and finishes, and how fabrication processes such as welding can affect these finishes. Research topics included different grades of anodising for aluminium profiles, tube flaring, internal tube beading for telescopic tubing, metal blasting, electroplating, brass lacquering, and other protective coatings such as PVD. The limitations of bending the complex geometrical profiles were further explored, enabling Timeless to better advise clients as to what bend radii can and cannot be achieved.

This has allowed Timeless to confidently take on new work that they may have previously turned away due to the unknowns it presented. This new knowledge has been published on the Timeless website, and it will eventually be included in a CPD presentation aimed at architects.

European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)

This project is supported through match-funding by the England European Regional Development Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. This fund was established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. This investment will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.

Explore the Innovation Studio

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an exterior wall with two reverse-L shaped windows and three semi-circle panels visible. A person walks past towards the right.

Overview

The Innovation Studio operates as a lab for creative technologies, a nucleus for start-ups and enterprises and an industry engagement hub.

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Events and workshops

A series of workshops and lectures for industry professionals to develop innovation and creative capabilities.

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Projects

Take a look at some of our recent collaborative projects with external partners and businesses

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Associate Programme

Our Associate Programme offers membership of our Innovation Studio to regional businesses seeking research and development support.

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Pre Start-Up Programme

Our Pre Start-Up Programme offers membership for creative individuals or businesses looking to develop new products or services.

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an interior space, with several people sat working at tables. A rectangle-shaped railing is in the middle of the room.

Creative Technologies

The Innovation Studio features state-of-the-art equipment and digital resources, and the latest manufacturing technology.