As we complete the formalities of our recent successful equity-based crowdfunding Fishy Filaments is shifting focus towards production, but also looking ahead towards the next phase of R&D.

In recent days I’ve had meetings and conversations with government agencies and business support functions, R&D initiatives and others which I expect to follow up. But I’ve also attended the InterplasUK and TCT (3DP) trade shows at the Birmingham NEC to meet equipment manufacturers (maybe try and drive down their prices a bit) and generally scope out what the rest of the industry is up to.

The tri-annual Interplas show was really useful, and I especially thank the team from Bruker for their one-minute analysis of a sample of our recycled material.

For recyclers product consistency is a challenge, and cost effective analytical procedures are often cited as holding back a greater degree of recycling, especially in mixed waste streams.

Bruker’s compact FT-IR spectrometer confirmed, from an existing data library and in an exhibition hall, that the material is Nylon 6 and they could even suggest its origin down to the factory. Both of which data confirmed information that I already had, but its good to see an accessible piece of lab-based analytical gear provide the hard data independently.

But just having kit is only one part of the capacity to deliver product consistency. We also discussed whether the equipment could be used to develop routine testing proceedures to ensure that FFL’s product meets expected product standards every time.

And finally on this issue; as we approach product certification for sales into the corporate market, having a in-house capacity to deliver the analysis is key and the recent start-up of the Lab Tech apprentice program at Cornwall College seems to offer a means to address the skills side of the equation. I expect to be opening a discussion with the Cornwall & IOS Skills Hub in due course.

In the context of longer term R&D, I was at the an event with Marine-i yesterday. There to understand their role in delivering innovation support for the Cornish maritime sector, and within the context of the maritime sector being included in the government’s industrial strategy. Great to hear about the integrated support from them alongside InnovateUK, Catapult, Exeter & Plymouth Unis and Cornwall Marine Network.

Also good to hear the confirmation of a dedicated £40m investment fund for more general Cornish business support, £20m of which will be available as debt, and £20m for equity positions that the fund might take in local businesses. Its been on the cards for a while, but is now scheduled to open its doors in 2018.

So its all go, and even before the crowdfunding funds have ‘landed’ we’re making good progress.