For luddites, the answer to any practical or mechanical problem has always been gaffer tape and WD40. But the technical director at successful polyurethane company Watts, based in the Forest of Dean, applied science to a problem and came up with a brand-new product which is due for launch this year.
Keen downhill mountain bike racer Richard Brooks, was getting fed up of the chains clanging and coming loose against his expensive Enduro bike. Whatever he put around the chain stay wore down or came off, so he developed a very thin polyurethane material at Watts manufacturing facility, Lydney and put it on his bike. Three years later, it’s still there – and he’s still participating in this extreme sport.
Fast forward two years and Watts Group new CEO, Dr Anthony Cooper found the tape and asked Richard what it was. The tape is super stretchy, super strong and even though there’s no adhesive in it, because of its chemical properties, it will ‘stick’ to itself.
Anthony, more accustomed to creating and manufacturing world-leading polyurethane products for industry, asked Gloucestershire-based innovation company BEAF for their ideas on how it could be developed.
Creating a consumer brand was a leap of faith for Watts – the company manufactured and sold B2B products. BEAF helped them create Adventure Tape, a consumer brand.
“The product would have been wasted if it was marketed purely in the bicycle-repair market,” says BEAF business development manager, Nav Varghese. “So we came up with a concept for the wider adventure sports market.” BEAF (which stands for ‘Before and After’) developed the branding, marketing and PR campaign, and managed the Kickstarter campaign.
The initial investment request for £15,000, was smashed when £45,000 was raised from more than 1,500 backers.
Watts plans to launch it on the consumer market this year. The product has a wide range of potential applications over and above a useful addition to the backpacks of extreme sportspeople. It could also be used as a tourniquet in medical situations as it can be manufactured to be anti-microbial.