Planet Knox Ltd

The Organisation

Planet Knox Ltd, based in Cumbria, specialise in the design and manufacture of innovative impact protective equipment, performance layering systems, hand armour, and - most recently - their studio collection outerwear. Their products are built for motorcycling, motocross, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing and equestrian.

The Challenge

The company had encountered significant time constraints in the design and manufacturing stages of their products. This was largely as a result of using dated methods of design, including sketching, 2D CAD and cutting patterns in foam/cardboard to be reverse-engineered. Through a Government business support agency, Lancaster Product Development Unit (LPDU) were asked to look into how this design for manufacture stage could be quicker, with design operation and flexibility brought in-house, allowing for iteration of product design instantly if required. Such design problems could not previously be rectified after commissioning from manufacture overseas.

Expertise Sought

  • Experience with SolidWorks
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • 3D printing

The Solution

Through a series of demonstrations and seminars with Lancaster University Product Development Unit (LPDU), in conjunction with reputable CAD software vendors partnered to the Virtual Prototyping Project, Planet Knox Ltd were steered in the direction of SolidWorks. Such 3D design software will allow Planet Knox Ltd the flexibility they require in their design process by incorporating organic design to their products, applying mass properties (material characteristics) to the 3D models, and performing simple Finite Element Analyses of the parts. Photo-realistic rendering and texture application round this off to allow Planet Knox Ltd to undertake true Virtual Prototyping of their product range.


This work was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Engineering Department’s Virtual Prototyping Project.


Planet Knox Ltd will investigate more fully the use of rapid prototyping in the production of prototype models and components. If modifications are required, then design iteration can be done instantly on the CAD system and sent for further rapid prototyping component manufacture. Prototype manufacture is now a simplistic process for Planet Knox Ltd; the design of a component and its translation to a physically manufactured prototype has been reduced to five working days in total. Through the installation of appropriate in-house design technologies, and introduction to appropriate prototyping facilities, the opportunity for Planet Knox Ltd to increase throughput has increased significantly.

Benefits to the company

  • Saved the company time
  • Improved the company’s cost efficiency