George Utz, the leading manufacturer of materials handling solutions in plastic, has won substantial European grant funding for the research and development of a new Unit Load Device (ULD) for the global air cargo supply chain.

Working in partnership with Leicester based innovation and technology development organisation New Wave Innovation, George Utz applied for the grant for its SAFEGUARD project under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) which is the EU’s main instrument for funding research and technological developments in Europe.

The SAFEGUARD project will develop a new technology to improve the security and efficiency of air cargo through the research and development of a second generation Unit Load Device (ULD). With around 1 million ULDs around the world, carrying approximately 80 million tonnes of cargo, they are a crucial element of the global aviation industry.

Over the last 20 years, incremental improvements to the devices have primarily focused on weight reduction, resulting in potentially compromised security. The SAFEGUARD technology will result in major improvements in the safety and security of the air cargo supply chain, in addition to large economic savings and logistics improvements for airlines.

Carsten Diekmann, General Manager at George Utz UK, is clearly thrilled with the news. “We are excited to be involved in the development of these containers, as they will have a real impact on how goods are transported across the globe. Our involvement in such an important and wide-reaching project demonstrates our high standards of quality and our unrivalled expertise in bespoke materials handling solutions.

“We have a first class design team and have already done a lot of work with New Wave Innovation to ensure that we address the various safety issues as a top priority.”

Development of the new ULDs will start in October 2011 and will run for 24 months. The first units are expected to be available from 2014.

As a UK manufacturer George Utz Ltd has been well known for many years for providing successful and reliable injection-moulded and vacuum formed storage solutions to British and European industry. It offers specialist technical advice about the best products to integrate with existing or new automated systems. Working closely with customers (including many well known blue chip names) and logistics experts, it develops innovative solutions for complex materials handling operations. George Utz prides itself on co-operation, quality and customer-focused project management.

George Utz Ltd

Tel: 01773 543170

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