Firm aims to transform automotive industry

By Gill Harris on 3 May, 2019

Pioneering firm Pinweld is looking for funding to continue its groundbreaking work, which is set to revolutionise the automotive industry.

The Bath-based company specialises in repairing plastic through precision weld technology. It was set up to explore options for an innovative method of joining thin sheet (1-5mm) olefin plastics by welding. The innovation, which has been welcomed by the UK automotive repair sector, means cracked plastic bumpers and under-bonnet parts can be repaired rather than replaced, with both financial and environmental benefits.

Newly-appointed chairman and CEO Antony Pullen said: “I’m delighted to join the Pinweld Team taking this unique, precision polymer weld technology to market. The significant environmental and economic benefits of repairing rather than replacing automotive plastic parts makes this an inspiring and exciting project to be associated with.”

To progress with the project, Pinweld founder and chief technology officer Keven Chappell applied for support through the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub programme, funded through the European Regional Development Fund and supported by Bath SETsquared and the University of Bath. Scientists and engineers at the university collaborated on the research into the technology, which will be useful in a range of fields.

Additional funding is now needed to bring the prototype to production.

Keven said: “In the mid 90s as an innovator and keen motorcyclist with an immediate need, I devised a reliable method of fixing cracked plastic panels using a novel form of plastic welding. Working full-time in aerospace and reliability engineering I didn’t think much more about it until, some two decades later, I moved from engineering to retrain as a maths teacher. To pay the bills during teacher training, I used my old designs and began to repair bike fairings, car headlight brackets and other plastic items. Individuals and subsequently businesses became interested in making use of the service so I started Plastic Repairs Ltd.

“As the technology developed, I began raising the funds to develop the plastic welding equipment, which was later refined to become the Pinweld tool. The business is rapidly moving forward and with the appointment of Antony I’m confident that his experience and business knowledge will fast track us in the right direction.”

Additional appointments to the Pinweld management team are Paul Albone as chief operations officer and David Wright as chief commercial officer.

Pictured above: Keven Chappell