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Written by Michaela Millar

Scott & Fyfe join Composites UK as they expand Composite Business

Scott & Fyfe, an employee owned technical textile manufacturer has become a member of the Composites UK trade association.


The 150 year old company finalised the plans with Composites UK during the run up to the recent Composites UK event, Supporting Composite Industry Growth in the UK a regional event hosted within the company’s Innovation Space earlier this year.


Pushing the boundaries of composite technology

The decision to join was due to a combination of factors including an ambition to play a more active role in shaping the future of composite materials, both within the UK industry and on a global platform.


Paul McMullan, Composite Director states that “as a company committed to innovation and pushing the boundaries of composite technology we felt it important to be connected to the UK trade association for composites in order to have a positive input into the strategic direction of research and government support to UK SME’s within the composite sector.”


Above Growing Composite Business


Growing the composite business within the textile company

Chief Executive John Lupton explains that the employee owned company fully backed the decision to become a member due to the success and growth of the composite POD within the business.


“Over the past five years we have seen steady growth in the Composite POD within our business and with exciting new products and partners, we are forecasting a continuance of this growth. Joining Composites UK is a logical development for Scott & Fyfe as we aim to strengthen ties within the critical sectors of Automotive, Mass Transit, Construction, Marine, Oil & Gas and Renewable Energy. 


As John explains, the move coincides with the ambitious plans of Scott & Fyfe to develop the composite side of their technical textile business. This growth is expected to be supported through the addition of new products such as the Polyform range containing multiaxial glass reinforcement materials such as Biaxial, Triaxial and Quadaxial non crimp fabrics (NCF) and Polyform CSM, a range of emulsion and powder bonded Chopped Strand Mats (CSM). These products will be launched on Stand G171 at the Advanced Engineering Show in Birmingham on November 4th & 5th.


Above Working Collaboratively


Working collaboratively

The move to join Composites UK also provides an ideal opportunity to network, engage and work in partnership with like-minded and ambitious UK companies. With an innovation led strategy at the core of the business collaborative working is paramount for Scott & Fyfe and occurs regularly between employees, customers, suppliers and anyone else who wants to approach the company with a problem! This innovation culture has seen the company carry out problem solving workshops with various blue chip companies since the launch of the Innovation Space in 2013.


Using design to promote innovation

This desire to work collaboratively is embedded in the culture at Scott & Fyfe, from the Innovation Space and POD structure to the way that employees work together. The company operates under a flattened hierarchy with teams of people working together in an effective and collaborative manner. This is in no way typical of a 150 year old technical textile business but is the everyday reality for Scott & Fyfe as a result of the Culture of Innovation which was developed over 5 years ago.


This culture of innovation came to fruition as a result of a project with the Glasgow School of Art and has resulted in the team using design-thinking tools such as POINT, the Double Diamond Model, dotocracy and mind mapping to carry out market research, new product development and problem solving on a daily basis. As a direct result, the company has significantly improved the timescales required to develop completely new products and get samples into the hands of its customers. Paul McMullan highlights that in 2014 the company produced over 150 rapid prototypes in collaboration with customers.


Many of the prototypes developed were for the Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) market, also known as Trenchless Technology or No Dig, which resulted in business being gained in a new market area within the Pipe Fabric Technology POD. The work put into creating these prototypes has resulted in the development of the new Alphashield range which is to be launched this year. This range has already had a strong impact on the market and comprises of seamless tubular knitted glass liners suitable for the rehabilitation of pipe systems in a variety of diameters and weights.  


Scott & Fyfe technical textiles

Alongside Composites, Scott & Fyfe also manufacture technical textile products for 3 other distinct market areas including: Abrasives, Flooring and Pipe Fabric Technology. Each of these PODS market and supply their own technical textile materials. All of the products produced by the company rely on the experience and capabilities the company has in extrusion, coating, weaving, knitting and stitch bonding.


Within the Abrasive POD, Scott & Fyfe have been supplying a range of technical loop attachment products for over 20 years and recently launched the Polyfast range. These technical loop fabrics grab onto the hook system creating a strong and reliable attachment.  The range also offers excellent lamination characteristics and can be applied using both hot melt and water based adhesive systems.


The Flooring POD is an important part of the history of the company and maintains a key role today. The main product range here is Textron which consists of stitch bonded and crepe paper and non-woven materials. These are used for carpet underlay and have dominated the underlay market for over 40 years.


The Pipe Fabric Technology POD is one of the newest PODS within Scott & Fyfe as none of the products produced here were made 5 years ago. Pipe Fabric Technology supplies to markets including irrigation and infrastructure repair and the innovations supplied into these markets include new flexible pipes for use in drip feed irrigation systems and unique seamless glass textile liners for the fast assistance of pipe rehabilitation systems. 


Composites UK involvement

As mentioned earlier, since joining Composites UK, S&F hosted the regional event Supporting Composite Industry Growth in the UK. The event was a resounding success, facilitating introductions between many players in the Scottish composite industry.


After welcoming attendees to Scott & Fyfe presentations began with Paul McMullan providing an overview of Scott & Fyfe, the Employee Ownership model of the company and of course, the composite side of the business. Stella Job, Supply Chain and Environment Manager and Dr Sue Halliwell, Operations Manager of Composites UK also provided excellent insight into the services that are offered by Composite UK and in particular, the growth of trade association membership within Scotland.


Alison Glover of Ashtead Technologies followed this by leading a discussion on the non-destructive testing (NDT) that can be carried out on composite panels and Simon Frost of Walker Technical gave an energetic talk about the work Walker carry out in the oil and gas industry using composite materials including an impressive case study of repair work carried out on degraded pipelines in the desert.


After the presentations, a factory tour was provided to all interested parties showcasing the range of stitch bonding, weaving, knitting, coating and extruding equipment capabilities held by the company on the Tayport site.


Overall, this Composites UK event showcased the diversity and quality of companies involved in Composites within Scotland and plans are already underway for Composites UK to organise another dedicated site visit to S&F in Q2 of 2016.


For any further information please contact Michaela Millar, Business Development Officer at:






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Written by Michaela Millar

After a brilliant week at JEC World 2016 in Paris, the Scott & Fyfe team are now back in the office and carrying on with conversations started at the show. Held in the new exhibition centre, Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center, the general feeling was that this venue suited the increasing scale of the show perfectly and provided a great platform for exhibitors to showcase to the high number of professionals in attendance.


For Scott & Fyfe there was a real buzz at the show and this was reflected in the results. We received enquiries from over 30 different countries which combined amount to over £20 million of opportunities, a resounding success for Scott & Fyfe.


The new product ranges added in the past year played a key role in the success attracting both existing and new contacts. This really is a testament to the market-focussed approach undertaken by the company to ensure that the products introduced suit the market requirements perfectly. Examples of this include:


Polymat FR, the glass reinforcement material designed to meet the EN 45545-2 standard within the rail industry generated a strong interest. This is an all glass fabric with a highly engineered knitted glass core sandwiched between two layers of chopped strand mat.



Polyform NCF, the range of multiaxial glass reinforcement materials which are designed to provide strength, drape and resin flow (permeability) in the configuration required for key markets such as wind energy, marine and automotive industry were also well received.


Polyform CSM, our leading brand of CSM which is available in both emulsion and powder versions.


Polyrov Small

Polyrov, a proven range of direct and multi-end rovings produced from E-CR glass that are well suited to processes such as pultrusion and spray-up methods.


We would like to thank everyone we met at the show. It was great meeting up with so many existing customers, partners and suppliers whilst there and it was brilliant to meet so many new faces. It will definitely be an exciting (and busy) few months continuing these conversations and, of course, if you did not get a chance to meet us at the show then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Written by Michaela Millar

Recently, I had the absolute privilege of presenting at Creative Dundee’s Pecha Kucha Night Vol 14. An event which I have attended myself many times before and one that I have always left feeling inspired and awe struck as a result of the amazing things that businesses, charities and individuals are doing in and around Dundee.


Pecha Kucha or ‘chit chat’ in Japanese, is a simple and fast paced format for presenting. Each presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds (no text) on any topic which inspires them! The concept was developed by Klein Dytham Architecture, in Tokyo 2003 and has gone global with over 800 cities now hosting PKNs. On paper it sounds simple but I have a lot to say and am definitely a chatter box so trying to fit everything into such a short amount of time was a real challenge.




Implementing a design-led strategy

My topic was of course Scott & Fyfe but more specifically on the transformation the company has undertaken over the past 5 to 6 years developing and implementing a design-led strategy. The entire evening was filmed and streamed live online by Stream Scotland and of course, watched by the sell-out audience of roughly 400 creatives. Not half piling on the pressure. You can watch the video of the night here, (I am on at 1 hour 54 minutes).


Togs for Tots to Teens

There were so many fantastic speakers on the night that I thoroughly enjoyed every second and was (almost) able to relax and forget the nerves. One or two standouts included Jordan Butler who as Managing Director of the Social Enterprise “Togs for Tots to Teens” uses creative thinking and an ethos of “Creating Kindness” as the building blocks to the fantastic work she does distributing clothing and equipment to struggling families. This can be in the form of clothes, toys or even bed linen and Jordan explains just how much of a difference something as seemingly small as bed linen can make by sharing the feedback she received from one mum. This feedback was that the family with 3 young boys had their first good night’s sleep because their 3 year old slept in bed for a full night because he loved his new dinosaur covers.




Thought Ninja

Another fantastic speaker was Dawn Walton, a cognitive hypnotherapist who showed us how to banish our negative thoughts – like a thought ninja! And alongside this, explored exactly how and when we lose our ability to be creative. Her accompanying images were simple and hilarious and I think it is extremely relevant to the way we work at Scott & Fyfe. This is because all of the work that we carried out with the Glasgow School of Art (which I will speak about soon) was to coax the creative side back out of our employees. We soon realised that they could all still think creatively and solve problems it was simply that this had gotten a little lost in day to day adult life!




Then it was my turn…

After watching the diverse range of speakers it was then my turn to change topic completely and give my take on design from a business point of view. Explaining exactly how our traditional 150 year old manufacturing company transformed itself into a forward thinking, “google-esque” type company with a design-led strategy.  150 years fit into 6:40 minutes.




Adapt to Survive

Design led and creative are not exactly the first words that spring to mind when discussing a traditional manufacturing company, let alone one which has been established for 150 years. So for bragging rights, it would be nice to be able to say that the company’s decision to take on this new approach was due to an inspired notion. However, the transformation to a design-led strategy was not carried out from a comfortable position but rather through the knowledge that Scott & Fyfe needed to adapt, and adapt quickly, in order to survive.


The struggle to survive came ironically as a result of the company’s success. Scott & Fyfe was extremely successful for a long time with the company’s main product ranges acting as great cash cows. Due to this, the company rested on its laurels and placed no emphasis on the need to produce new products that would be commercially successful and whilst there were many talented employees, a lack of communication and insight was blinding. Unfortunately this short sightedness meant that we did not notice our main markets going into decline and when the recession hit we began to lose money fast.


Creating Cultures of Innovation

As we began to struggle, we were introduced to a new team at the Glasgow School of Art (GSoA) who were looking to teach design principles to non-designers in a project called Creating Cultures of Innovation. This was the birth of our NOW team (New Opportunities Within). We got to work with these guys, sending a group of employees from all areas of the company to learn different problem solving tools and methods of working collaboratively.



Learning to use Design Tools and to work in Cross Functional Teams

All of the design tools learned with the GSoA fit into the Double Diamond model above. This is a framework we use for our new product developments. It encourages us to look outwards, to speak to the market whether this is our customers, through networking at exhibitions or by linking in with academics etc. It then forces us to make sure that we really do listen to them before bringing the insights back to spot the opportunities as a team. From there on, we develop and push these ideas and begin to develop prototypes before ultimately finalising a product which then stands a real chance at being a successfully commercial innovation.


Teamwork is one of the key takeaways from our design approach. Employees from all over the company have fantastic ideas and vital insights that were missed previously when only one or two employees had any input. The design tools are used to aid this, dotocracy and 6 hats for example both empower employees and give them an equal say to their colleagues irrespective of their time served or status in the company. For more on these tools have a look at our previous design tools blog.


The new market-focussed POD structure of the company enforces the design-led strategy even further by ensuring we put the market and customers at the very top of our priorities and, of course, by running the POD’s with cross functional teams.




This is a Work in Progress

Ultimately, this sums up the transformation in a brief way, the reality is a very lengthy process and I think that most employees would admit this is 100% a work in progress. We are not there yet and are constantly seeking advice, making mistakes, learning, failing and adapting. Implementing the design-led strategy has not been a magic wand but it has, in my opinion, kept the company afloat in recent years and hopefully the rewards will really start to show.


Doing the PKN simply reminded me just how inspiring an environment it is to work in!



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Written by Michaela Millar

Scott and Fyfe are excited to announce their participation at JEC World Composite show in March where they will be promoting the next­ generation of Polymat FR, an all glass core mat for high performance fire retardant applications.


JEC 2016 2


Polymat FR offers improved resin flow characteristics, high conformability and ability to meet the highest level of fire performance such as EN45545-2 making it highly suitable for the manufacture of composite parts in the rail industry.


In addition, they will also be showcasing a full range of glass reinforcements including chopped strand mat (CSM), woven roving (WR), multiaxial non crimp fabrics (NCF), continuous filament mat (CFM) and single and multiend roving.


We invite you to visit our stand, hall 5A booth E16 to discuss how we can improve your competitive advantage.


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Written by Michael Harrison

I am excited to be writing my first blog post for S&F covering the Advanced Engineering Show which was held in Birmingham 2 weeks ago. To introduce myself briefly my name is Michael Harrison and I have very recently begun working at Scott & Fyfe as business development executive within the Composites POD. I started working for S&F on the 20th October 2015 and exhibiting at the Advanced Engineering Show was really my first task with the company.



Some background to me would be that I am married with 2 boys, Scott and Jordan who are aged 23 & 18. Scott is an accountant and Jordan has just started university and will be doing an MSc in sports science. Previous to working at S&F I worked for companies including Fothergill & Harveys and Courtaulds Aerospace when they took them over and most recently BW Fiberglass.


During my 26 years at Fothergill & Harvey’s (now known as Fothergill Engineered Fabric) I began work as a labourer before progressing to a machine operative. At this point the company was taken over by Courtaulds Aerospace who put me through university where I gained a 2-1 in operational management. After this I was then put through the mill spending 12 months in every department gaining a full understanding of how things worked. This was a fantastic learning experience. After completing this I realised I felt most comfortable in a sales role but due to problems in the manufacturing side of the business it was best placed for the company that I take on the position of operations manager. I left there in 2005 to gain more knowledge within the technical fabrics industry and worked in sales positions for various companies involved in the textiles / composite industry with a focus on the aerospace, automotive and marine markets. My last role was with BW Fiberglass who are based in North Carolina.


Mike Harrison


First Impressions

On visiting Scott & Fyfe for the first time I thought that the Innovation Space and PODS were fantastic and could see how this would be a massive benefit to the running of a company. I was also very interested in the fact that Scott & Fyfe are an Employee Owned company, a first for me.


Getting Started

I exhibited at the Advanced Engineering Show 2015 on behalf of S&F with Paul McMullan, Composites Director and Michaela Millar, Business Development Officer.  It was the first time in a long time that Scott & Fyfe had held their own stand here so was interesting for all 3 of us.


The Advanced Engineering Show is one of the largest meetings in the UK for the engineering supply chain with a large segment focussed specifically on the composites market. The 2 day show has grown significantly year on year and is a great exhibition to meet the key players in the UK market, although the show now seems to be attracting more and more international visitors.


Setting up our exhibition stand was definitely an experience as all was going well until we tried to stick the boards and frames onto the panels only to realise our tape would not adhere to the thin boards. Finally we succeeded (after an emergency trip to B&Q) and we left at around 8pm very hungry.


Day One

Day one of the show was fantastic. Our stand was busy for the entire day and we had plenty of meetings with potential customers and partners at the stand. It was also a great opportunity for us to catch up with our existing customers and suppliers.


Over the course of the day we had lots of interest in our standard Polymat range of glass chopped strand mat sandwich materials including the new addition to this, Polymat FR an all glass variant. Other products from our portfolio such as Polyform WR our range of plain weave and twill woven glass fabrics were also well received. However, Polyform CSM, Scott & Fyfe’s new chopped strand mat materials was the most well received of the day.


All in all, it was a great day and whilst it left us extremely tired, we were all looking forward to day two!


Day Two

Day two began a little slower in comparison but by lunchtime the show picked up and we were exceptionally busy on the stand.  This carried on until the very close which was unusual but welcome and again we earnt plenty of good enquires. Another new product again received a great deal of interest and this was Polyrov, the new range of direct roving’s and spray up roving’s Scott & Fyfe are offering to the composites market.


Back to the office

Now that the exhibition is over the hard work really starts, to carry on with the conversations started and to follow up with the new contacts.


On behalf of the Composite team I would like to thank each and every person who came by our stand at the show. It was fantastic meeting so many enthusiastic people and learning, as always, that little bit more about the composites industry.


It was also a great and full on induction to Scott & Fyfe!


If you didn't get a chance to meet us there feel free to get in touch! All of our details can be found on our website 



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About Us

With innovation, diversity and partnership at the heart of our company’s ethos, Scott & Fyfe have been designing and producing a vast range of technical textiles for numerous market areas worldwide for almost 150 years. Our ability to design and manufacture products for both current and future market needs have allowed us to build a global reputation for excellence in both quality and service.

Scott & Fyfe
Tayport Works, Links Road, Tayport, Fife, Scotland

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