Dec 17, 2015
The world gets tickets to ride as University teams up with specialist Hull manufacturer

Tickets used in countries across the world now contain special inks developed in Hull. A knowledge transfer partnership with the University of Hull has led to specialist ticket company, BemroseBooth Paragon, developing a full-scale ink manufacturing plant at its premises on the city’s Sutton Fields Industrial Estate.

Chemistry graduate Haydn Ward, who joined the company at the start of the partnership, has formulated, refined and manufactured the technology for producing the information-storing magnetic strip on the tickets and created 10 types of magnetic ink.

“To remain commercially viable, it became essential to develop our own ink manufacturing capability,” said general manager Rob Burgin. “The knowledge we now have, and the ability to develop new inks, puts us in a unique position in our industry.

“Haydn has been an asset by contributing to our future stability and profitability. We have all gained a great deal from our partnership with the University.

Instead of relying on bought-in supplies, BemroseBooth Paragon is now producing two tonnes of its own ink every week in the production of tickets for hundreds of locations around the world, including all UK railways, London Underground and the Paris and Cairo metros, as well as being the UK’s leading provider of machine-delivered parking tickets.

The knowledge transfer partnership shows how the University can use its chemical engineering expertise to bring direct benefits to the local economy.

Mr Burgin added: “We have been extremely impressed by the University: their knowledge, their commitment, their enthusiasm and their support.”

Haydn Ward said: “With support from the University, I couldn’t have had a better opportunity. I have been given chances to develop my knowledge as well as understand what it is like to work in an industrial manufacturing environment.”

He is now working on new product applications for the inks he has developed as well as working for a higher degree in chemical engineering.

Bill Walker, director, of the University’s Knowledge Exchange, said: “Haydn is an excellent example of how our highly capable and skilled graduates are making an impact with businesses.

“He has dedicated himself to finding a solution for BemroseBooth Paragon and his success shows the value of knowledge transfer partnerships as an example of the many ways in which the University can help businesses innovate and grow. We are proud of Haydn’s achievement and the University’s successful partnership with BemroseBooth Paragon.”

Dr Jay Wadhawan, senior lecturer in chemical engineering, said the partnership marked the University as an anchor institution for the industrial chemistry, engineering and technology sectors, to develop the infrastructure that leads to competitive advantage in the marketplace.

BemroseBooth Paragon’s beginnings can be traced back to the 1820s in Derbyshire, supplying tickets for the new railways.