In five years time, STL will be the leading global enabler of composites applications through delivering expert guidance to customers, so they can make the appropriate choices for their business.
STL provides management and technology consultancy services within the composites application markets believing that independence, creativity and honesty leads to unique products and gives freedom of choice for the client.
STRUCTeam addresses a market need for independent technology and business advice across the composites supply chain, enabling its clients to make the right choices for their business. The company helps leading global engineering, construction and technology brands to meet their composites challenges, and has completed over 100 successful projects since it was founded in 2010.
Recognising the challenges facing composites users
For many organisations, choosing a composites material solution for their application without the right knowledge resulted in performance and cost issues. Developing a business case that applied traditional materials thinking to a composites materials solution inevitably led to cost overruns, and an application that failed to meet its performance criteria.
Recognising the need for expert and independent advice across the composites supply chain is why STRUCTeam was established.
New values for the composites supply chain
The needs of STRUCTeam’s first three clients validated exactly why the business was started.
The first of these was a boatyard producing luxury sailing and motor yachts, which had worked with composites in the past. Now it was looking to innovate with unusual materials - including glass, carbon and bamboo fibres, oak and red cedar - to retain the classic wood look of its yachts at the same time as improving their performance. The client chose STRUCTeam because it was able to provide the versatility and experience of the entire product lifecycle. With the team’s expertise, the resulting yachts achieved the performance enhancement targets, and still looked classy.
When STRUCTeam was launched, Asia was identified as having massive potential for wind energy. Through the founders’ contacts in the sector and following a distinctive proposal that demonstrated the team’s unique capabilities, a contract was quickly won. The project was to design a 50m turbine blade for a 2MW wind turbine required by a Chinese OEM. The bid beat tough competition because STRUCTeam offered the client the opportunity to be an integral part of the design process, which in turn allowed more knowledge transfer of the design process to take place. The deliverables included aerodynamic design, load calculations, structural design, tooling, prototyping, testing, certification and project management. The client benefitted from STRUCTeam’s transparent approach to developing composites solutions as its own design team was able to follow all of the design process steps during development. The result was a bespoke solution that met the Chinese OEM’s initial requirements, and the OEM’s design team gained valuable new skills.
Simultaneously, a leading carbon fibre manufacturer needed help with business development, managing its supply chain and developing new market sectors. STRUCTeam delivered a consultancy-based solution that involved knowledge transfer of the team’s practical field experience of the supply chain that broadened the manufacturer’s thinking about where it could add value, which it proceeded to do.
From a standing start with no clients, within the first six months STRUCTeam had acquired ten, all at different places in the composites supply chain. These included architects and designers, manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and most remain clients today. This broad client and project base, which has grown to reach over 100, has enabled the company to grow a stable and diversified business, and to remain insulated against major market shifts.
The business today, and in the future
Launched from the outset as a global business, STRUCTeam is based on the Isle of Wight, in the south of the UK. With its UK base, expanding global network and a multi-cultural Team STRUCTeam has a truly international perspective.
The deep expertise with composites materials such as carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) and glass fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP) has kept STRUCTeam at the leading edge of composites technologies. Driven by innovation and demonstrating the business case for composites, the team has the capabilities and skills at every step of the supply chain to help its clients to deliver their composites strategy.
STRUCTeam works in partnership with its clients, challenging assumptions, and believes that offering choices, knowledge and technology transfer underpin the process of developing the optimal composites solution.