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Bridport firm’s net gain in Germany

THE BRIDPORT division of global netmaking firm AmSafe has bought up the knowhow of a German air cargo specialist.

The move is designed to ensure that Amsafe Bridport – based at The Court in West Street – gives the aviation industry what it wants.

Amsafe Bridport's base at The Court in West Street, Bridport. Photograph copyright Roger Cornfoot, reused under Creative Commons Licence.

One of the things the industry wants is less weight on board aircraft. Less weight means lower fuel costs.

Last year AmSafe Bridport introduced a lightweight cargo pallet net specifically designed to cut weight.

Now it’s bought “certain intellectual property and other assets” of Hoffmann Air Cargo Equipment (Hoffmann ACE), a privately-held company based in Friedberg that specialises in making high-tech pallet nets.

Hoffmann ACE is known for its investment in research and development, and it was unique in offering the lightest air cargo nets in the world made with a fibre called Dyneema. Dyneema is the world’s strongest fibre.

Now, Amsafe is the world’s leading supplier of palletised cargo nets, but Hoffmann prided itself on being technologically “one step ahead” of the competition.

In layman’s terms, it looks like it was one step ahead of Amsafe Bridport, which couldn’t beat it, so it bought it.

The cost has not been disclosed.

Ian Kentfield is head of commercial cargo for AmSafe Bridport. He’s based in Hong Kong, so I haven’t yet been able to speak him directly, but via Amsafe’s American HQ he’s quoted as saying:

“We are excited to bring Hoffmann’s knowledge and innovation into our business. AmSafe is committed to developing highly engineered solutions for the world’s cargo market; and with the addition of the Hoffmann ACE assets, we are now able to offer our customers additional lightweight products that improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”

Rope, net and twine have shaped Bridport’s history for centuries. In recent years, the industry has got more and more international, a process best described in Richard Sims’ excellent book Rope, Net & Twine: The Bridport Textile Industry (Dovecote Press, 2009). Amsafe Bridport’s deal with Hoffmann ACE continues the trend towards globalisation.

Hoffmann ACE employs 60 people worldwide, eight in Germany, the rest in Turkey, China and the USA.