UK marine engine starter manufacturer Kineteco says it plans to expand its product range after appointing a new senior technical manager.
Mechanical engineer Max Sheppard has joined the Ashford, Kent, headquartered firm following leading technical roles in the automotive and wind power sectors. He will oversee an expansion of Kineteco’s spring starter motor range currently mainly aimed at the maritime market for engines ranging from one to 14 liters.
Kineteco’s hand-wound mechanical devices can replace electric starter motors and allow engines to be started easily and safely by hand without a battery or alternator. Kineteco managing director, Karen Rhodes, said it is imperative as the world’s leading spring starter manufacturer that they continue driving innovation and industry standards.
“Flexibility is now the operative word in the market we operate within,” said Ms Rhodes. “Components need to be highly flexible to meet customers varying needs, as well as different engine characteristics and changing control systems. Most of the starter motor technology was developed in the 1950s for engines which were typically very similar. But the market has changed greatly. We are now looking at developing sustainable products which have flexible qualities to deal with the changing needs of the marketplace.
“New product development is fundamental to the firm’s future success. We are looking to expand our product range which typically targets engines ranging from one to 14 liters. This could allow us to open up new markets by developing spring starters for boat engines smaller than one liter and more suited to the leisure market, for instance. We are further looking to expand the range for engines up to 18 liters which gets us into an entirely different arena of power output. A sector we have identified with great potential is the US barge market, supplying spring starter motors for diesel engine pumps used for loading and unloading.”
Sheppard, a Southampton University mechanical engineering graduate, previously worked at Tier 1 Ford supplier Countytrac Ltd, where he focused on drive line technology dealing with all equipment between the engine and wheel from gearboxes to axles.
He worked on applications for high clearance tractors as well as six-wheel drive military vehicles. Sheppard then landed a role as engineering manager for a vertical access wind turbine company X-Wind Power Limited, where he led a team of engineers.