One locomotive manufacturer’s journey to global recognition, from 1931 to present
Clayton Equipment comes from humble beginnings, established in 1931 by Stanley Reid Devlin, as a single person operation manufacturing goods and spare parts for Clayton Carriage and Wagon equipment. 87 years later, Clayton Equipment is a far more diverse operation, developing and manufacturing everything including spare parts, special projects and locomotives for use on mainline, mining and tunnelling railways.
Their patrons range from established and long-standing outfits in the UK, to further afield, exporting to over 60 countries.
Clayton’s continued success is down to its ability to adapt to a changing market, through continued efforts to develop innovative and original solutions. This has been demonstrated clearly through notable achievements, such as their development of the world’s largest rubber-tyred flameproof locomotive in 2007, or a fleet of the world’s first Stage IV Diesel tunnelling locomotives in 2016.
It’s no surprise that in 2012 HRH The Duke of York chose to visit the company, touring both the offices and manufacturing ground.
LoCo™ meets modern market needs
One of Clayton’s latest innovations comes in the form of LoCo™, a low-cost locomotive created for use in tunnel construction, launched in 2016. LoCo™ was designed to respond to the need for low cost locomotives to meet specific requirements when working in tunnelling and construction environments, where minimising capital expenditure on relatively short projects is prioritised.
Traditional mine locomotives are designed for projects which last for decades, rendering them cost prohibitive for tunnelling applications. Clayton’s expertise in this area meant they could identify opportunities to adapt the locomotive, protecting their innovations with patent applications.
What qualified for R&D tax relief?
HMRC states that to qualify for R&D tax credits, a project must meet the following criteria:
- Look for an advance in science or technology
- Try to overcome technical uncertainty
- Not be easily worked out by a professional in that field
Clayton has been working with MPA for several years now, ensuring qualifying activity is correctly identified under the scheme’s complex and regularly changing rules.
Clive Hannaford MD at Clayton Equipment
We’ve established a great relationship with MPA over the years; they really understand what we’re trying to achieve. Their experience in our sector makes it easy for them to identify what qualifies for the scheme, and put the time required into delivering a successful claim – leaving our time free to focus on our next project.
Loco™ qualified for the R&D tax credits scheme for number of areas of innovation.
Firstly, their intention to create a locomotive with specific application to tunnel construction where project length is short, and cost-efficiency is a necessity, qualified as looking for an advance in technology, as this type of vehicle didn’t previously exist on the market.
To create the vehicle for use in tunnels, Clayton adapted several features of Loco™:
Track gauge varies from site to site, so Clayton developed Loco™ with an adjustable track gauge. Life cycle costs were also reduced by up to 55% through careful consideration and testing of materials on different parts of the vehicle.
Another area of such innovation was the tyres; Clayton tested a number of metal and rubber variants to deliver traction comparable to locomotives more than twice the size and double the cost.
As well as reducing capital cost overall by up to 40% compared to conventional locomotives, they also improved safety through high braking and traction, with a more than twofold increase in performance compared to conventional locomotives.
At MPA, we’re passionate about helping those companies innovating and driving the UK economy forward; working with companies like Clayton Equipment, with such a rich history is always a pleasure. Operations Manager, David Wright, explained:
David Wright Operations Manager at MPA
I enjoy working with Clayton each year, and I always look forward to hearing about their latest project. The way they experiment with different materials and processes is truly fascinating, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to claim a significant sum in tax credits, which can partially fund their next innovation.
If you’re working in the rail industry, get in touch with one of our engineering experts to find out if, like Clayton Equipment, your work is eligible for R&D tax credits.