Why did Blatchford enter the EEF Awards?
The EEF Awards celebrate manufacturing and engineering in the UK and the EU, helping to shine a light on the best manufacturers and manufacturing initiatives out there.
Blatchford entered the Export Growth Award after successfully redesigning its product development process, which aimed to be more responsive to the US market and to improve collaboration between its Research and Development teams in the UK and US. Strong relationships with distributors were established through direct sales and with the support of a technical support team, which meant that the sales team were able to reach areas not previously covered. The international collaboration and successful redesign of the product development process resulted in responsive products, which in turn raised brand awareness in the US and contributed to accelerated growth in Asia and Europe.
Blatchford also entered the Smart Product Award with Elan, a hydraulic ankle, which combined innovative technology from the original Orion, one of their microprocessor knees (MPKs), with hydraulic ankle technology to create a new microprocessor foot that brought a new level of stability and comfort for the wearer. Blatchford designed and manufactured Elan to create a new microprocessor foot within the prosthetics industry. Elan mimics natural muscle resistance and ankle motion by adapting hydraulic resistance levels to optimise stability when standing, on slopes and uneven terrain. This encourages more symmetrical limb loading, faster walking speed and reduced compensatory movements. The result is smoother, safer and more natural walking, to help preserve the body in the long term.
How have Blatchford’s products and services evolved since it won the awards?
In 2011, Blatchford’s vision was to create the world’s first fully integrated lower limb prosthesis. The product development process continued to thrive and respond to market needs and Blatchford achieved its goal by connecting the technology of the award-winning Elan microprocessor foot to Blatchford’s original Orion MPK. The result was Linx, the world’s first integrated limb, which has gone on to win many prestigious awards including the MacRobert Award and the Germany Design Award in 2016.
Designed to deliver an experience that mimics the incredible and complex structure of the human leg, Linx provides a coordinated stream of instructions to the hydraulic support system by actively sensing and analysing data on the user’s movement, activity, environment and terrain. The result is a walking experience that is closer to nature than ever before, giving the user the confidence to get on with their life.
Looking forward, Professor Sir Saeed Zahedi OBE, Technical Director at Blatchford, noted “The intelligence and capability of prostheses is improving every day. Further integration and control of the prosthesis through connectivity to the residual limb will soon allow the users to control their prosthetic limbs in much the same way that they would a natural leg. The prosthetic limbs of the future will surely enable further records to be broken and victories won, but they must also enable amputees to live their lives fully independently every day, without barriers, as well as when they want to perform activities of daily living at their very best. Linx is a step towards that goal.”