Background note

 

As part of the SMART funding application, a project timetable had to be submitted. 

When the project timetable is compared with the work actually done it is transparently clear that the CrashSALi project failed.

 

An annotated  copy of this timetable was sent to the Manchester University Vice-Chancellor on 11th February 2004.

This provided evidence that the business arm of the University (MIL) and Bill Courtney (Cheshire Innovation) had both completed as much of the work as they could.
But SMART funding could not be legally claimed because the Engineering Department did not deliver  research results as promised in the timetable and contract.

 

 

Annotated extract for the Vice-Chancellor begins

 

Annotations in blue: Tasks completed by MIL and Cheshire Innovation

Annotations in red:  Engineering Department task failures

 

General aims of the Smart CrashSALi project

To collect sufficient experimental evidence to attract the interest of major industrial partners to join in bids for Foresight or European funding for major projects relating to  (a) Improved crashworthiness of motor vehicles, (b) Smart crash protection for railway trains, (c) Low cost impact buffers and vibration isolators.

To provide funding, to assist in protecting our intellectual property.

Specific objectives

1.        To provide proof of principle evidence that SALi based impact absorbers can be used to enhance the crashworthiness of motor vehicles and trains. Key experimental data relating to weights of components, volumes of liquids and illustrations, showing how the components deformed under crash conditions, are missing from report.

2.        To provide proof of principle evidence that SALi based vibration dampers are a viable alternative to existing spring-dash pot systems. After consulting manufacturers, Cheshire Innovation specified the materials to be used, in accordance with good industrial practice. Corrosive and brittle materials, which deteriorated during vibrations, were used instead.

3.        Produce at least three engineering journal and one conference paper based on the research results. Key experimental data, for comparison with results published by other workers, was not supplied. Papers not written.

4.        To attract partners, to take at least one SALi based product to the near market state with the aid of Foresight or Framework support. Cheshire Innovation requires good quality experimental evidence, using materials in accordance with industrial practice, before it can approach potential partners, to make further funding bids.

Project timetable

Month

1 Sept. 02

2

3

Nov. 02

4

5

6

7

8

 

9

10

11

12

13

14

Oct 03

Sub-contracted

Engineering  Research

School of

Engineering

 

Advertise & appoint research assistant

Phase 1  Contaminated liquids, having uncertain viscous properties were used. Essential data, on volumes of liquids ejected, was missing.

Phase 2

Essential data relating to:

1         Weights of components.

2         Volumes of liquid ejected.

3         Shapes of crush tubes, after impact tests.

All missing from the report.

Phase 3

Materials supplied by MAPRA were not used.

Corrosive liquids, which attacked container, used.

Phase 4

Specified, automobile slave cylinder not used.

Corrosive liquids were used.

Cheshire

Innovation

 

 

 

 

Joint selection & supervision of researcher.

A key aim of the research process was to build up a team spirit, involving Cheshire Innovation, University academic and technical staff, so that we could present a united front, when inviting large industrial players to join us, for further research funding bids. In reality, the opposite has happened. Since about April 03, the relationship has soured. This has damaged both the PedSALi and CrashSALi projects.

Assist researcher in writing of papers.

No papers have been discussed or written. Poor quality data unlikely to attract international interest.

Patent

protection

 

 

 

Revision & UK filing of Pat. App's.

4 & 5.

Chap. II filing Pat. App'. 3.

DONE: Refers to suspension system patent.

 

Prepare PCT Pat. Application 2 for national phase

DONE:

Suspension system patent.

 

Revision & PCT Chap. I filing, Pat. Applications.

4 & 5.

UK priority date patent application withdrawn

Abandoned because lack of useful results and creative teamwork meant that a new understanding, to assist CI in writing strong patent claims never emerged.

Chap II filing, Pat. Applications.

4 & 5.

Abandoned.

Partner search & Promotion

Internet

 

 

Submit details of CrashSALi programme to Cordis & Eureka databases

DONE

Outline description of CrashSALi on Cheshire Innovation web site.

DONE

 

Update entries on Cordis & Eureka databases, CI web site.

Not done

< Abandoned,

Due to lack of useful data & inability to file protective patent application.

Update entries on Cordis & Eureka databases, CI web site.

Not done

Conference &

Exhibition

 

 

Register for conference with mini-exhibition facilities, submit conference paper outline.

DONE Exhibition @ Barbican

Registration was withdrawn, after it became clear that the collaboration with the School of Engineering was breaking down & strong patents could not be filed before public exposure.

Write conference paper.

Not done, due to lack of good quality data.

 

 

Prepare exhibition materials

Not done

 

Present conference paper & man exhibition stand.

Not done

M/c Innov.

campaign

 

 

 

Exploratory

marketing research

DONE, very well

In depth market structure exercise.

Identification of potential partners, meetings with them, negotiating collaboration & possibly licensing agreements. Organisation of workshop and open days for industry.

Press releases to engineering magazines.

Not done, due to lack of supporting evidence & patent protection. However, from past experience of working with MIL, I believe they would have done a good job, given the chance.