Innovation Hub 2020 to promote SME Collaboration

Porterbrook launched Innovation Hub 2019 at Rail Live. The on-track demonstration unit in a unique facility which allows suppliers to showcase innovative products and innovations to UK and overseas customers.

Porterbrook also issued a call out for suppliers to participate in Innovation Hub 2020, which will support the Rail Supply Group’s ‘SME Growth through Collaboration’ programme which is being led by the Rail Forum Midlands.

The ‘SME Growth through Collaboration’ programme asks asset owners, like Porterbrook, as well as Tier 1s and OEMs to work with small and medium sized suppliers. The objective being to encourage SME growth through collaboration and partnerships, which deliver innovative products designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s passengers.

This year’s Innovation Hub brings together 25 suppliers who are exhibiting 30 new products and innovations covering:

  • Improved passenger facilities
  • New uses of data and connectivity
  • System monitoring
  • Environmentally friendly manufacturing processes

Porterbrook created the Innovation Hub by re-purposing a four-car Class 319 train to serve as a working environment for a wide range of new technologies and passenger-facing improvements to be showcased and tested.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an integral role in the UK rail industry’s supply chain but face barriers to entry to demonstrate new ideas and innovations to potential domestic and foreign customers, so the Hub is a direct response to this gap.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “We are delighted with the initial success of the Innovation Hub and are impressed with the technologies on show at Rail Live this year. I am really pleased that we can use the Innovation Hub in 2020 to support the ‘SME Collaboration for Growth’ programme being led by the Rail Supply Group and supported by Rail Forum Midlands. This again shows Porterbrook’s commitment to working with industry partners to accelerate benefits for passengers.”