The partnership struck between Swansea University and the Philtronics Group has created some of the most cutting-edge technologies in the Welsh sport sector, demonstrating the promising opportunities that Academia and Manufacturing can create together to innovate in other sectors.
The Philtronics Group, made up of its primary company Philtronics Ltd. and its sister company Philtronics Solutions, is a contract electronics manufacturer based near Aberdare in Central South Wales, which offers its partners a complete “design-to-delivery” service.
One of the most recent innovations Philtronics were contracted to manufacture as a result of their partnership with Swansea University is the Protecht mouth guard, a high-tech mouth guard that measures in real time the force of player head impacts during a high-contact sport, such as rugby or football. The analytic data will provide objective data to pitch-side staff in real time to aid decision making on head impact related incidents in training or in games and help plan and manage training, through the performance metric dashboard.
The Protecht mouth guard is already being used by Rugby Union clubs across the UK, such as the Ospreys (of which Philtronics Ltd will be their sponsor from the 2021/22 season), Harlequins, Salford Red Devils in Greater Manchester; and trials for Protecht are ongoing with both the Manchester City and Liverpool Women’s Football teams.
Business News Wales spoke to the Managing Director of the Philtronics Group, Simon Pritchard, who says that having a strong relationship with the Welsh Universities, such as Swansea University, is critical to validating both the research behind a product and the completed product as a whole:
“When you partner with a university, there are clearly different motivations […] that all the partners may have, so what’s been interesting I guess from our perspective is how [we were able to] form a relationship with multiple entities.”
“For us personally, what we felt [that] we found beneficial from the partnership from both sides is the commercial input, […] commercial expertise for product realisation and financial support for student placements. So for example, we run summer scholarships where students can conduct research on our existing products, as well as [us at Philtronics] giving them some real-life work experience.”
You can listen to our audio interview with Simon Pritchard below: