Tedfords in Belfast sets sail on new business venture supported by Invest NI

Belfast based Tedfords Ltd has identified a new sustainable source of PVC, cut costs and is expanding its product range, with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company was founded in the 1850s as a ship chandler and maker of sails and tents. It has continued to adapt and develop its product offering to reflect market demands and now manufactures PVC banners, trailer covers and wire rigging.

Technical support from Invest NI, provided through its Industrial Symbiosis (IS) service has helped Tedfords become more resource efficient and improve the company’s sustainability. The IS service encourages businesses to collaborate to create commercial opportunities for exchanging commodities including waste materials. This exchange can in turn generate additional sales, reduce costs and improve environmental credentials.

A collaboration between Tedfords Ltd and ThyssenKrupp Aerospace Ltd in Newtownards has resulted in waste product from one now being used to make new products at the other. ThyssenKrupp Aerospace Ltd has a regular supply of PVC weatherproof tarpaulins which it had been treating as waste and sending to landfill. The partnership with Tedfords now means these tarpaulins are being re-used to make trailer and boat covers. Tedfords also has plans to develop a wider product range with this material in the future.

Keith Bell, Managing Director at Tedfords said: “The IS service provided a valuable new business link which will help us use our sail making skills and materials salvaged from other businesses to enhance our product range. As a result of this introduction we are now working with ThyssenKrupp Aerospace in other business areas.”

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technical Solutions said: “Mutually beneficial relationships such as this demonstrate how one firm’s waste can be used by other businesses to achieve cost savings and/or additional sales. In turn this can improve the overall competitiveness, sustainability and productivity of both parties. This is an excellent example of how our Industrial Symbiosis service can have direct, positive results for business and I would encourage other companies to explore how they could benefit.”

Invest NI’s Industrial Symbiosis service is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.