A Warwick businessman is set to reignite his company after inventing a new fire-lighting system that could revolutionise the wood-burning stove industry.
Matthew Statham, who runs ChinaTech Sourcing Ltd, at the Wharf Centre in Warwick, has developed a new combustion unit that ignites a fire inside a wood-burning stove with the flick of a switch or remote control.
And with support from the new Coventry and Warwickshire Clearing House, he’s on the road to turning the prototype into a fully fledged product that he wants to assemble in Warwickshire.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) was originally approached for support and adviser Colin Hanson-New decided to draw upon expertise from colleagues at the Clearing House to offer further support to the company.
The Clearing House is a new ‘one-stop-shop’ for support and advice for advanced manufacturers, which was formed by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its City Deal bid to Government.
Partners involved include the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, UKTI, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry University, the University of Warwick and MAS, and it is described as a Growth Hub for Business.
A production prototype and patent for the product have been secured already thanks to the support – which included grant funding from MAS – and Matthew believes the first stoves with his Autoblaze product inside could hit the market in the next nine to twelve months. Further support is now being discussed for CE marking and HETAS testing for solid fuel stove approvals.
He said: “I came up with the idea when I was thinking of having a wood-burning stove myself. I just didn’t like the thought of the lighting process and I remembered a hand held lighting ‘gun’ my parents had for open fires.
"It wasn’t quite right for a wood-burning stove so I took the basic principle of using hot air on fuel to start a fire, but integrated the system into the stove.
“I developed the Autoblaze unit, which basically places an element that can be heated to 500 plus degrees celsius, inside the wood-burner and, at the flick of a switch, blows hot air onto the wood to the point of combustion. I am now up to prototype number five and this is what we are taking to market.
“I cannot overstate the help I have been given. I just wouldn’t be anywhere near this stage if I hadn’t received the support being offered through the Clearing House. It’s making all of this possible.”
Matthew is now holding talks with stove manufacturers in the UK in a bid to get the Autoblaze installed as an option within their products and one of those companies, which is also based in Warwickshire, has been introduced through UKTI.
John Nollett, a Clearing House account manager, said: “China Tech Sourcing is one of the first companies we have been able to assist in this way since the Clearing House was established and it is a perfect example of what it is designed to do.
“Matthew would not have had the time to navigate his way through the various organisations offering support but with Clearing House involvement he has been able to call upon the expertise of a range of bodies, all of whom can help in different ways.
“China Tech was, previously, an importer of goods from China but with this new product being assembled in our area it will create jobs and growth for this region.
“It is an extremely exciting product and one that, with the right sales and marketing strategy – again something we are looking to assist him with – has the potential to revolutionise the wood-burning stove industry globally.”
Pictured (left to right): Brian Mountford (UKTI), Matthew Statham (China Tech), Colin Hanson-New (MAS), John Nollett (Clearing House Account Manager)