Interview with TLX Cargo's IP partner Hunt Technology Ltd

02/02/2018

How did you get into IP?

My experience goes back to the early years of the nonwovens industry, where I developed products using this technology to create low-cost, high performance materials for the medical, industrial and construction sectors.

Why did you set up your own IP company?

Two things came together. First, it was clear that the pressures of manufacturing didn’t create a culture of innovation. And secondly, that the answer to solving the problems at the interface between opposing environments lay in new innovative technology.

What do you mean by that?

Well. Take clothing. Everyone knows a waterproof garment is hot to exercise in, whilst a genuinely breathable garment isn’t waterproof. Solving this kind of interface problem occurs in many different sectors. Another example would be your home. The average household generates 14 litres of moisture a day. In an old building there’s no risk of condensation because the moisture leaks out through all the openings. But it takes the heat with it so to improve energy efficiency you have to cut out the air leakage but now the moisture has nowhere to go and you have a condensation problem. Solving these kind of puzzles lies in lateral thinking, something alien to industrial organisations dependant on replication and quality control. In the IP sector you need to be free from those constraints having one foot in the clouds and the other in the real world

How does this apply to cool chain?

It’s an evolution of the kind of problems I’ve been talking about – in this case how you manage the opposing forces of heat and cold separated by the thinnest of barriers

So, how have you brought these kind of ideas into cool chain?

One of our licensees was approached by a pharma company concerned at the number of excursions they were experiencing with traditional blankets. Through another licensee we financed research into why excursions occurred and what could be done about it.  We quickly came to see that this interface problem was so extreme in cool chain that low-e products could never provide the solution on their own. We identified that we needed to slow the heat gain. PCM was a possible route forward but being only available neat or as a gel made it entirely impractical in a blanket. Our challenge then became how to make a PCM system that could be integrated seamlessly into a cargo blanket. The exciting opportunity was that if a PCM blanket could be created there might be all kinds of knock-on benefits to the cool chain sector.

It sounds very exciting. What is the company philosophy?

I guess the answer to your question is that the motivation is not only the business opportunity but also the challenge and the reward provided by problem-solving to improve people’s lives. For this reason the cool chain sector is an excellent opportunity for us. We take big risks with the developments we fund and we are very proud to have patents granted globally on many of the products we support. Obviously, our world is multi-national and we patent across all geographies licensing our IP to interested parties.