At the official opening of his new R&D facility in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, James Dyson – inventor of the dual cyclone vacuum cleaner – outlined the way forward for British manufacturing.
Following a meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP, Dyson commented on the Labour government’s relationship with British manufacturing.
With £120 million more going to university research projects, 30% additional tax credits for small businesses and a perceived willingness to listen and talk about research and development, Dyson feels that the government is making the right moves.
However, echoing the sentiments of others, he reiterated the need for R & D tax incentives. The problem is, he said, that British manufacturers are offered little incentive to invest in areas which are not instantly profitable: `I think the government should take the initiative to give people the tax incentives to make real things’.
Giving nothing away about future products, Dyson would only admit that he is working on at least one non-domestic product. This notorious secrecy lends the facility a `James Bond’ feel. Indeed, one can almost hear the men in white coats playing with exploding pens.
The test-chambers which are not off-limits to the curious visitor demonstrate Dyson’s ongoing commitment to improving its designs. In one, where dust pickup is monitored, the temperature is kept at a constant 21 degrees C and a pneumatic actuator drives a vacuum cleaner at a uniform speed across a piece of carpet, picking up specially imported Arizona road dust. Meanwhile, a camera which operates at 40,000frames/s is able to track the progress of individual dust particles through the cleaner.
In addition, noise emissions are monitored in a soundproofed chamber with 1/2m foam triangles lining the walls. With the cleaner miked-up like Keith Moon’s drum kit, designers are able to pinpoint the origin of every annoying noise, and hone in on the area of the design which needs improving.