A FRODSHAM businessman has come up with a revolutionary product which could save lives at sea.
And he has signed a £4m-plus deal with the Royal Navy to kit out its latest fleet of warships.
Marine Systems Technology has developed Comfire, a non-combustible material being used to make doors, lockers and furniture for Type 45 Destroyers.
The first, the 14-deck HMS Daring, was launched earlier this year and five more are being built as part of a £6bn programme.
'Most deaths at sea are caused by fire and new international shipping regulations mean that newly built or refurbished vessels must utilise non-combustible fittings,' said Frodsham based director John Dower. 'Fortunately for us, the regulations came in at a time when we had developed Comfire.'
John set up MST on Woodford Industrial Estate, Winsford, in 2004 with son Andrew and fellow director Alan Hall to develop a system for ships and used Government grants of £127,000 and help from Business Link Cheshire. It now employs 15 staff.
Andrew, who lives in Northwich, said: 'This Royal Navy contract is a massive order. Each of the six ships will result in a turnover for us of £730,000.
So far, we've produced 100 lockers, 350 wet-area partitions, 500 door frames, 70 fire doors and 4,000 panels for the Destroyers. Wherever you stand on HMS Daring, you'll be within five metres of one of our products.'
Turnover has increased from £164,000 to £700,000 over the last three years and this year is expected to hit £1.7m.
John added: 'We're in talks with the Royal Navy about fitting its new aircraft carriers and we hope to secure contracts with the Australian Navy and Indian Navy.'