What brought you to Transport Design International (TDI)?

I joined TDI as a design technician over 30 years ago. We have evolved hugely since then to become what we are today.

My experience and knowledge have grown with the company. We expanded into transport looking at lightweighting vehicles to improve their cost and sustainability, while maintaining product performance. Follow our journey to see how we transformed from a design focussed company to a design and manufacture leader in transport systems.

How has TDI transformed over the years?

TDI designed the Jubilee Line, Northern Line and Piccadilly Line trains. We created full-scale mock-ups and added accessible spaces, bike spaces and perching seats. Since then, we have continued to work on lightweighting innovations in product design. We are now global leaders in lightweighting technology and recognised as pioneers in the rail and transport industry.

What projects have you worked on?

I have worked on many projects over the years including products for London Transport, AusRail, and CRRC China. We designed the elevated VectusTM PRT vehicle for Sunchen Bay, South Korea.

The Al Hoota project was a great experience for my team. The train had to be narrow to enter a cave, light enough to run on a loose sub structure and tall enough to operate on existing station platforms.  The Coventry VLR shuttle is one of our projects too, we designed and built the prototype vehicle for Coventry City Council.

We designed and built the Revolution VLR Demonstrator. It is now in operation for stakeholder visits at our purpose-built facility in Ironbridge. We are working with our partners Eversholt Rail to develop the next phase of this project with potential passenger trials in the UK.

Revolution VLR is designed and built with accessibility in mind, and we wanted to do more than just meet the legal requirements. We have gone above and beyond with considerations for wheelchair users, hearing-impaired people, and visually impaired people. We invited members of Back Up, the spinal cord injury charity, to test the vehicle and give us feedback on the accessibility features.

How do you work with your suppliers?

Over the years, we have built a strong supplier network at TDI.

Attending shows and exhibitions is a great way to do that. Staying in touch with people within our industry network to discuss manufacturing and the latest innovations, brings us closer to reaching industry targets, like Zero-Carbon emissions.

We collaborate closely with our suppliers to push the boundaries of innovation for lightweight materials. I visit the factory floors of suppliers regularly to ensure we are aligned and materials support the requirements.

What is your working relationship like with your teams?

I can’t do my job without collaboration. Collaboration is key for a successful project.

I work with my design team to put specifications together and the projects develop from there. We welcome all ideas and challenges within our teams and discuss the client’s requirements before we start any project.

What factors must be considered when starting a vehicle design?

There are three fundamental factors to consider when designing, we look at the impact, functionality, and user experience of the product.

We work closely with the commercial team to understand our market, the client’s requirements and objectives. We take the client’s needs and specifications and create conceptual sketches from a mechanical and design point of view, and then discuss these further with the client.

What takes a project from concept to production?

It all starts with the Design team putting specifications together. We have a robust, collaborative process within the design team to create a detailed overview of the requirements and create full-scale mock-ups. We work closely with the engineering team to ensure manufacturing elements are achievable. Collaboration across all areas of the business is key to having a smooth process and a product that meets all the needs of the client and community.

How do you keep up to date with new innovations?

Networking at exhibitions is great. I always keep an eye out online, on LinkedIn particularly. As Head of Design, my responsibility is to keep up to date with new legislation in our field, as well as an interest in automatic control and materials.

I work closely with our Marketing team who are feeding us new research material, but also opening doors to new networks for us.

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