Baker Bellfield’s CEO discusses polyurethane, crash compliance, and aerospace aspirations 

Since its inception in 1993, Baker Bellfield Ltd has leveraged its extensive expertise in designing and manufacturing technical products to cater to various sectors, including rail, airport, commercial office, and more. Jamie Baker, Managing Director and CEO, provides a brief introduction to the business. 

“Our founder, Peter Baker, established the company to manufacture polyurethane-edged panel products for specialized sectors. From humble beginnings, Baker Bellfield organically grew into what it is today while retaining its family business heritage. In the 1990s, polyurethane edging was the product of choice for commercial furniture, empowering the business’ rapid expansion. Baker Bellfield began supplying the UK’s leading commercial office fit out companies with Table on traindesktops, consoles, and meeting tables, among others. However, the 2008 financial crisis impacted our turnover as the commercial office sector essentially disappeared with customers looking for cheaper alternatives to polyurethane edging. Therefore, Baker Bellfield sought new markets and capitalized on the rail sector, which already relied on polyurethane edged tabletops. Subsequently, we developed our own metalwork division equipped with in-house manufacturing capabilities enabling us to supply more system components. From there, we focused on expanding our rail product portfolio. In 2012, we entered the airport sector, securing a contract for the design, manufacture and installation of desk and counter furniture packages for Heathrow Terminal Two. As part of this project, we delivered over 500 desks across over 75 design types. Since then, we have undertaken over 100 airport projects internationally, and we continue to serve some of the world’s leading airports,” he begins. 

To cater appropriately to each sector, Baker Bellfield offers a diverse and regulated product portfolio. “The products we offer to the rail industry include table systems, luggage towers and racks, vanity units, bodyside panels, grab poles and other interior products. Our contributions to this sector have been instrumental, with signature products such as our innovative lightweight EN45545-2 HL3 compliant panels. These panels are made using a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) structural foam core processed from fully recycled PET bottles, making them some of the most sustainable products being installed on rolling stock in the UK, Europe, and now the US. We have already integrated this product into several projects, including Siemens Mobility’s project for cab partition panels for the new trains being built for the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line upgrade. We have also employed this innovative product on Alstom-Bombardier’s Class 390 refurbishment project for Avanti and Angel Trains. Baker Bellfield is renowned for its expertise in designing, engineering, and manufacturing crash-compliant table systems. In the UK, our designs meet GMRT 2100 Issue 6 standards, empowering us to validate and test over 200 table systems. 

“As a result,” Jamie continues, “we are one of the most recognizable table system suppliers in the UK and Europe. This success has prompted our entry into the US railroad market. In 2018, Siemens Mobility US approached us to design, engineer and validate a table system to America’s equivalent rail safety standard. Although no other company globally has achieved this while conforming to those standards, Baker Bellfield has accomplished it with ten different table types within a two-year period. This achievement has driven us to establish our US subsidiary, Baker Bellfield LLC, in 2019 to target Buy America compliant railroad projects. 

“In the airport sector, Baker Bellfield serves as a global supplier of interior and furniture solutions, offering Aviation Security in Airport Development compliant check-in counters – including hybrid models – security preparation furniture such as liquid aerosol gels, wayfinding monolith and beacons, wall linings and passport control counters. Additionally, we provide airside works encompassing retail frontages, gates counters, customer podiums, card reading shelves, VAT counters with anti-bandit glazing screens, as well as immigration counters with swing gates,” he continues. 

Moving forward, Jamie discusses Baker Bellfield’s most recent project for Amtrak ICT. “We won the contract for this venture thanks to our ability to design, engineer and validate APTA crash compliant tables. This specific capability gave us a major competitive advantage as Baker Bellfield is the only supplier able to execute the engineering of these tables to a high standard. For this project, we will supply approximately 4000 varied workstation table types across coach and business classes. Notably, these tables feature retractable table leaves, electrical sockets, and height adjustability. Simultaneously, Baker Bellfield also secured the luggage tower package consisting of three variants of luggage tower, including a multifunctional tower which features a rise and fall shelf enabling it to convert from fixed shelves holding luggage to one that can store bicycles,” he enlightens. 

Reflecting on the challenges faced in the past, Jamie sets out his vision for the future of the company. “Our growth plans were impacted both during and after the pandemic, with the company losing one of its main sectors due to airport closures. This significantly affected reserves, yet we managed to retain all our staff and develop a business in the US to futureproof the company against similar downturns. Over the next five years, Baker Bellfield will continue to pursue these growth plans with a focus on establishing itself as a supplier to the aerospace industry. We have already allocated funding to develop our quality management system to meet aerospace requirements and believe that our manufacturing processes align with the exacting standards required for supplying that industry. Therefore, we expect aerospace to become one of our leading sectors alongside rail, airport interiors and commercial office,” he ends. 

Through an unwavering dedication to innovative design solutions, Baker Bellfield is primed to develop many more projects empowering transportation worldwide.