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Innovative lifting system is game changer

A newly engineered lifting system is raising the bar when it comes to the manual handling of goods thanks to Desford-based business, M J Products.

The business has used a grant from Collaborate to purchase equipment which is proving to be a significant game changer for the company. M J Products was formed by engineer Mark Jackson in 2009.

With over 25 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of products for handling Mark set up the business to design and develop a bespoke lifting solution, initially for Dunelm Mill. His products primarily use patented foot operated lifting technology with lightweight manoeuvrable lifting equipment for handling loads – whatever it may be – of up to 250kg, removing the need for manual handling. M J Products operates as a design and supply business creating bespoke solutions to companies including Euro Car Parts, Decathlon, Argos as well as Dunelm Mill with over 30 different products in their range designed to specific customer requirements.

Mark brought manufacturing in-house in 2017 and one of the key drivers in doing this was the development of VanMate, a version of his products which uses an innovative light weight modular lifter.

VanMate can be quickly disassembled and loaded into the van to enable remote delivery of goods without the need for a separate handling device at customer or satellite operations.

The grant of £25,000 has helped towards the purchase of a press brake – sheet metal folding equipment – which means the business can make VanMate in-house overcoming its challenges in sourcing repeatable and accurate folded parts from local suppliers; also reducing lead times and saving money in sub-contracting.

The funding has also helped towards the purchase of a new demo van enabling M J Products to demonstrate the new system on customer sites. Mark commented: “The funding has allowed me to invest in the business and develop a manufacturing infrastructure to enable growth. The new press break has enabled us to accelerate new product development and production.

“An increase in turnover on last year has meant we have employed one new person and we already have an order worth £100,000 for VanMate. Our turnover forecast for next year looks set to double to around the £800,000 mark.”

Although Collaborate has now ended the Business Gateway offers free business advice, access to funding and workshops. Contact the team on 0116 366 8487.