19th March 2018 – visit to 3M UK Headquarters, Bracknell, Berks.
The Southern Branch 2018 Programme of events started with a day visit to 3M’s Facility at Bracknell. This was a follow up to the TSRGD presentations given to the branch by 3M previously on 29th June 2016 and 29th Nov 2017 where the revisions and interpretations of the new 2016 version of the document had been discussed.
3M whose motto is ‘Science – Applied to Life’ has a $31.70Bn revenue and divisions covering Health, Safety & Graphics, Industrial, Electrical & Energy and Consumer operating in 70 different countries.
Scott Stapley introducing delegates to the Innovation Centre. Note the 15% stand prominent on entry.In the field of highways their innovation over 75yrs has developed Retroreflective Sign Sheeting in 3 principal grades which are Engineer, High Intensity Prismatic and 3M “Diamond Grade” to cater for all categories of highway. Although they do not manufacture signs the vast majority of signs produced today are fitted with these materials by specialist manufacturers.
The development of these together with many products produced are displayed in their Customer Innovation Centre which members were given a guided tour of by Scott Stapley whose knowledge and enthusiasm for them was indeed convincing. It was noted with interest that staff members are encouraged to devote 15% of their worktime to ‘free thinking’ in order to initiate new ideas or developments that the company can progress. This philosophy has produced such products as the sign sheeting to the humble ‘Post-it’ note that we all know and love.
Following an excellent buffet lunch, members were given an overview of the changes to the TSRGD by Simon Morgan, Executive Chairman of Buchanan Computing. Simon is a Hon Fellow of IHE and is well known to the Institute as he chairs the Traffic Signs Panel and is lead assessor for the Professional Certificate in Traffic Sign Design.
A truly informative day to open our 2018 CPD programme.