From kitchen table to £1.2m for Barnsley engineering firm

5 November 2012







A device to stop pollution, which was first designed in a Barnsley kitchen, is now worth £1.2m a year.

The Plant Nappy is a drip tray for generators, pumps and other portable equipment, which stops pollutants getting into water courses. It is used mainly by construction companies.

The prototype was sewn together in a kitchen in Hemingfield back in 2005 by the wife of Colin Ibbotson, who runs Manvers Engineering, based in Grimethorpe.

Colin said: “I cobbled some materials together and my wife Carol sewed it up over the weekend on the kitchen table. And now Plant Nappy is becoming generic for drip tray, just as Hoover is for vacuum cleaner.”

Portable equipment like generators sit inside the Plant Nappy, which has a tough base made of PVC coated polyester fabric and a polypropylene liner that absorbs and traps any spilled oils and fuels.

The side walls, made of special foam, are permeable to water – so rain water can escape, but the walls also act as a filter to remove contaminants. There are three different sizes of Plant Nappy to accommodate different sized equipment.

“Companies know that they must adopt best practice when it comes to pollution and they also know that the cost of fines if they do pollute water courses is very high,” said Colin.

Among Manvers Engineering’s clients are large construction companies, housebuilders and even a prestige sports car manufacturer. Plant Nappy is now sold in countries including France, Sweden, Canada and Australia; with plans to move in to Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, the Czech Republic and the US.

The company is also in the process of transferring across the road to a new 10,700 square foot factory at Park Springs. Its expansion is being backed by business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, with advice on marketing, finance and health and safety.

“Enterprising Barnsley’s support has been phenomenal, particularly in helping us connect to other local companies and also in the re-brand of the business and the new logo,” said Colin.

The company was set up in 1996 originally to supply separation units for the tunnelling industry. The units separated the water used to flush out the material being tunnelled from the slurry.

But in 2005 Colin started manufacturing the Plant Nappy after seeing a gap in the market. Manvers Engineering now has a turnover of £1.2m and staff of five. And plans for a new product, still under wraps, means the future is bright.

Colin said: “The new product still needs developing. It will complement the Plant Nappy and is one of the reasons we are moving into the new premises. These really are exciting times and all along we are being helped by Enterprising Barnsley. So we do feel positive about the future ”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.


Attached picture shows Colin Ibbotson demonstrating Plant Nappy. (If crediting picture please credit to

Colin Ibbotson can be contacted on 01226 719444 or at 

Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC). The Enterprising Barnsley programme is part financed by the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

For more information about Enterprising Barnsley go to or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at

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