Enterprise Europe Network

From car parts to biomedical research

Posted: 01 Feb 2015

An Italian SME advised by the Enterprise Europe Network is applying its mechanical expertise to the world of biomedical research.

Cultraro is a family-owned firm based in Turin in northern Italy that makes small shock absorbers known as dampers designed to smooth the movement of hinges and other small parts in car ashtrays, armrests, cup-holders and glove compartments. It supplies all the world's major automakers, including Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network, Cultraro applied its engineering know-how to the human body for an EU-funded research project led by Spanish company Especialidades M├ędico Ortopedicas (EMO).

Cultraro learned about the project from the Turin Chamber of Commerce, one of nearly 600 Network partner organisations in 50 countries entrepreneurs tap into EU funding opportunities.

"I explained this unique opportunity to Cultraro, which had never participated in EU research," says Paola Tolin, a Network technology transfer officer in Turin. Besides gathering all the necessary information about the research project for Cultraro and how it would work, she helped the SME prepare an application. She also convinced the client of the importance of taking part in EU-funded research to increase its visibility and branch out into a new niche market.

The recently completed Trem-End project, led to the development of a limb brace manufactured by EMO for patients suffering from pathological tremor. The brace is still undergoing clinical testing, but results are promising so far. The prototype uses a damper developed by Cultraro, applying the same technology it uses to make dampers for cars in the biomedical field.

"Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network, we are embarking in an exciting new direction we never could have imagined," says Antonio Reddavid, sales director at Cultraro Automazione Engineering. The Network is now helping Cultraro promote its new biomedical success through a promotional video posted on the Network's Youtube channel.