A family firm which manufactures flame retardant materials in Langley Mill has received a £160,000 boost to develop a new product.
The Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) approved a £160,000 loan from its Growing Places Fund for Prometheus Developments Ltd.
David Aslin, who founded the company with his wife Barbara in 1989, says his staff will gradually increase from five to 12 as production increases thanks to the investment.
The company was set up as a consultancy in intumescent products – substances that swell when exposed to heat. The proceeds of the consultancy, together with SMART grants, fund Mr Aslin’s research work to develop chemical products that are inherently intumescent.
Barbara said: “We have put all our profits back into researching an inherently fire-protective polymer which can be added to other products so they will withstand fire as long as any conventional product.”
She says the material represents a big step forward for fire safety as well as the environment because the substance creates minimal smoke that is not toxic and without the use of hazardous flame retardants. The company, based on Langley Park Industrial Estate on North Street, has already built a one-tonne reactor to produce the material in liquid form and is in the process of constructing a machine to turn it into powder.
Barbara added: “It means we can get our products into plastics and foams and all sorts of applications which at the moment are very difficult to fire protect.”
Barbara and David founded the company 25 years ago in Belper, where they live to this day. They have since operated from premises in Ripley before moving to Langley Mill seven years ago. Their son Chris, aged 28, works in the firm as technical manager.