Wolverhampton, UK-based Airguard Filters committed hundreds of thousands of pounds in R&D spending to create a new design that could be easily separated into its constituent components, allowing the filters to be recycled.
The company ships its filters around the world, with many of them arriving in West Africa, where some of the world’s largest power generation companies have a large offshore presence.
With a new modular design, Airguard Filters can ship components rather than the finished product, allowing the company to pack 10 times as many filters into a single shipping container. This reduces the product’s carbon footprint and means some components — including the metalwork and plastic profiles — can be re-used to make new filters, avoiding the need to recycle parts after every use.
The modular design also creates jobs in destination countries, where the filters are assembled on arrival.
R&D tax relief was introduced by the UK government in 2000 to incentivise innovation, and results in either a reduction in a limited company’s corporation tax bill or a cash lump sum. Catax says that many firms don’t realise the work they do qualifies as R&D, which is defined as any work that seeks to resolve a scientific or technological uncertainty, whether that’s a new process, product or service. Crucially, R&D work does not need to have been successful to qualify, and claims can be made up to two years beyond the end of the tax year in which the work took place.
“Prior to this, we had no idea we qualified for R&D tax relief so it really opened our eyes to the innovation funding that’s out there,” said Maqbool Rafique, director of Airguard Filters. “There will have been projects we’ve done in the past that probably would have qualified too. This tax relief is something that we are acutely aware of now whenever we look at developing a new product.”
Kully Nijjar, associate director of innovation funding specialist Catax, said: “Airguard Filters is an example of a company that is always adapting. Maqbool and his team have done a superb job of identifying where further improvements could be made and the significant sums the company has received are testament to a huge amount of hard work. They are another example of a company that wasn’t aware this relief applied to them but whose senior team now include the scheme as a key consideration in their future investment decisions.”