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University transfers knowledge with local furniture business


The University of Wolverhampton has partnered with a local furniture company with a view to improving its design development and production processes.

Repose Furniture, based in Cradley Heath, has appointed a University of Wolverhampton Product Design degree graduate, James Hewlett, through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. James has secured a three-year internship during which he will be working as an industrial designer for the seating manufacturer.

Having been used successfully by a number of major manufacturing businesses, KTPs, which are supported by the government through Innovate UK funding, are designed to allow companies to utilise leading-edge technology and research within the academic sector to bring about cutting edge change within UK industry.

The project will help the bespoke seating manufacturer adopt the latest in digital engineering and design technology to assist with the development of new products, as well as bring about improved productivity and growth.

James said: “The opportunity to work within an organisation such as Repose is invaluable to me.

“I initially heard about Repose when I was researching possible placements on the University website and saw they were looking for a KTP Associate.  After speaking to people at the University, I conducted some research on Repose and only read positive reviews and also liked the fact that it is a family business and their products really make a difference to the customer’s quality of life and independence.”

In the role, James will be supported by the internal expertise at the University, with additional staff working on the project to provide input on project implementation and development.

Lisa Wardley, Managing Director at Repose, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer James the chance to work with us.

“Repose design and manufacture rise recline and porter chairs for domestic and health care settings. The chairs are for elderly, bariatric and increasingly paediatric care. James will be working to develop new innovative products for Repose specifically for these markets.

“People such as James are the future of British manufacturing and it is down to us as manufacturers to work with universities and invest the time and money to provide opportunities such as this.  The KTP is beneficial to both parties as it will enable us to learn about new processes and the latest technological advances.”

Rhys Thomas, Senior Lecturer in 3D Design at the University, said: “This project is being run by Product Design staff in the Wolverhampton School of Art who will work closely with Repose to help them adopt and embed digital engineering and design into their manufacturing process.

“This partnership will offer opportunities for our students to work on other live projects but ultimately will implement modern design and manufacturing capability to quickly and positively impact on new product development, productivity and growth for the company.”

Anyone looking to study in the Wolverhampton School of Art can check out the full range of courses here.


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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