French engineering consultancy Mercury Consultants is launching an on-line search engine for technical suppliers, aimed initially at the engineering and research departments of railway operators and manufacturers. Research and development departments from any organisation will be able to contact free with specific technical requirements for materials procurement or potential new developments.

Mepax will use over 150 technical experts and consultants to ascertain the top five potential suppliers to a closely-defined requirement. Registered suppliers will be forwarded details of the enquiry, leaving the the tenderers and bidders to make contact on a one-to-one basis. Mepax recognises that some projects may be ’secret’, and will give the R&D applicants the option to vet the list of suppliers before the details are sent on, in order to restrict the circulation to potential competitors.