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How a Hyde SME strengthened its value proposition in three easy steps

Stainless Restoration Ltd has reaped the benefits of a university collaboration, resulting in reduced costs and improved efficiency.


How can a technical problem that’s blocking product development be overcome if you don’t have the knowledge, skills or testing facilities you need within the business?

For Stainless Restoration, which will be celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2024, the logical solution was to seek help. Three steps – and around twelve months – later, the Hyde SME has not only improved the efficiency of its leading product, but also cut production costs too.

Find out below how a collaboration with the University of Salford has been transformational. We guarantee you’ll get food for thought on how your business can benefit too.

Step 1: The Innovation Diagnostic


An ‘innovation diagnostic’ is what our innovation specialists describe as ‘a structured way of identifying innovation opportunities and challenges within an organisation’.

Meet Paul Halliday (pictured below), who, like all our innovation specialists, has extensive experience of working with SMEs and quickly finding practical solutions to drive them forward.

Paul carried out a diagnostic on Stainless Restoration and found that the company lacked the technical capacity it needed to gain momentum with an ongoing project to develop a product.

The subsequent conversation with the business, in a nutshell, went something like this:


“As you don’t have the expertise within Stainless Restoration – how about we look outside the organisation to find it?”

“Good idea, we never actually thought of that – have you got any contacts?”

“Yep, we can draw on a massive network of support for SMEs. We can also help you access funding to assist research and development.”

“Let’s do it. What next?”


And so began Stainless Restoration’s innovation journey.



Step 2: The Project Brief

Heat exchangers on oil rigs are crucial for maintaining optimal operating conditions, improving energy efficiency, and ensuring the safety and reliability of various processes. The problem is, they require regular cleaning.

Stainless Restoration’s challenge was to develop a new, eco-friendly chemical cleaning product that would be safe for use in the marine environment, replacing products used in the past which were toxic and harmful.

Together, Paul and the business drafted a project brief, highlighting the scientific and technical challenges.

Drawing on our strong connections to universities and research establishments across Greater Manchester, we then reached out to see where there was specialist knowledge that could help.

Step 3: The Research


Step forward the University of Salford, home to an expert on chemicals in a marine environment, who understood the challenge and was confident he could support.

A meeting was set up in which the business, University and Growth Hub to further developed the project plan. The University came back with a proposal and quotation for the research and development work.

A meeting was set up in which the business, University and Growth Hub to further developed the project plan. The University came back with a proposal and quotation for the research and development work.

To part-fund around half of the R&D cost, our innovation team supported Stainless Restoration in a successful application for an Innovation Voucher, while additional funding was also secured through the R&D tax relief scheme.

“For an investment of only a few grand, and with little risk, the company was able to expedite essential R&D activities, and shorten its time to market, says Paul at the Hub.

Following a twelve-month project, the University presented its findings to Stainless Restoration. The research was so fruitful that it triggered a major breakthrough that improved the effectiveness of the company’s Energex 700 product by 15%. The results also led to a high-cost key component of the product being produced inhouse rather than imported from Greece, reducing costs even further.

Frank Morris, CEO at Stainless Restoration, has no doubts over the benefits of the collaboration: "The advances we have made, and are making, in our products and techniques, are making a huge difference to our business,” he says.

“The support of GC Business Growth Hub and their innovation team has been invaluable throughout the process.”

The future


Following these successes, the business is now in discussions with the University of Salford for further developments using the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme.

The new project will develop and improve the technical capabilities of using airflow to clean heat exchangers on oil rigs – generating more market-leading products produced in Greater Manchester and introducing new technical expertise and knowledge into the company.

The Hub is continuing to support Stainless Restoration through the process.

How your business can benefit


How do you turn business ideas and opportunities into sales? How does your SME challenge the status quo, to develop and progress a new, redesigned or improved product?

As a first step, speak with us


“Meeting with an innovation specialist can really act as a catalyst for action and to get innovation started or back on track,” says Innovation Specialist, Paul Halliday. 

“Organisations can be unaware of the support available to support them. Talking to one of our team often opens their eyes to what can be done by way of support. The collaboration with universities and sources of funding is one such example.” 

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