Ben White

Designing a portable device to revolutionise friction testing on railways


Sheffield Tribology Services


Yorkshire and the Humber



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Designing a portable device to revolutionise friction testing on railways

Railway friction is essential for safe, reliable and sustainable railways, but it’s so complicated to measure that engineers often rely on visual inspections or a trial-and-error approach. It’s a problem that Ben White aims to solve with Sheffield Tribology Services.

Ben is designing the first portable railhead friction-measuring device, known as a tribometer. The device allows railways to be inspected and cleaned quickly and efficiently, helping to reduce delays, prevent damage and improve railway safety.

Since winning the Young Innovators Award, Ben has gained additional grant funding and developed his prototype to be more reliable and cost effective. With the support of the Next Steps Awards, he plans to secure new workshop facilities, rebrand the business and conduct field trials at railway sites across the UK to test and demonstrate his tribometer.

“The Young Innovators support was fantastic. We went from an initial concept to a diverse and scalable business in just 12 months. The Next Steps Awards is a great opportunity to work with the same team again, with more funding behind us to carry out the trials and approvals required to launch the product. I’m excited to see where the next 12 months take us.”


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