RIF-launchThe Robotics Innovation Facility (RIF) based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory launches today as a new initiative to encourage the take up of robotics technology within industry across Europe.

The RIF is equipped with a number of robots, vision systems and other items of automation.

What do the RIF plan to do?

The RIF are currently holding beta trials with participants from startup companies in the fields of gaming and entertainment, established consumer product companies and educational establishments.

“It’s a gateway for business, especially SMEs, to help them work with cool new robotic technologies”

 

It’s a gateway for business, especially SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises), to help them work with cool new robotic technologies; develop markets for new robotic products, services or processes; and demonstrate proof of concept in novel robot application areas.

Farid Dailami, who heads the Bristol RIF said, “SMEs, other businesses and manufacturers can sometimes find it difficult to access the latest technology, and understand the potential of robotics and how future deployment could help their business. For example, companies frequently have a product or process idea or improvement but can’t take it to the next stage within their current capabilities.”

“The RIF would be able to help businesses verify how useful an expensive new robot would be”

 

The RIF, according to Dailami, would be able to help businesses verify how useful an expensive new robot would be before needing to invest heavily, giving them the chance to make informed decisions.

“Through the RIF we would be able to carry out the necessary experiments and modelling to help them understand possibilities, and resource permitting, support them in getting extra funding to continue development. We can also introduce companies to national and Europe-wide networks beneficial to the development of their innovation and ideas.”

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Companies will initially need to go through an application process, but if eligible and after working out the problems and how the RIF can help, the process moves forward.

“We are also offering a series of workshops which will help participants to develop their understanding of this field and the potential of robotics to enhance their business.” Said Dailami.

How do they help?

Stuart Cochrane, Manufacturing Manager for Numatic International, creators of the iconic chirpy vacuum cleaner Henry, said “The RIF has helped us to evaluate appropriate solutions for our business and we have expanded our knowledge base through attending short courses on automation theory and practice. This process has enabled us to trial the effectiveness of automation on components that were not originally designed for this.”

“We are very excited by the potential benefits that our relationship with the RIF will bring to our business.” He added.

“BRL is leading the way in Europe in this project, providing a service that bridges the gap between industry and the latest research in robotics”

 

The Bristol RIF is the lead institution of three – one in Pisa, Italy the other in Paris, France – and is part of the Echord++ project funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Its aims are to invigorate the interactions between manufacturers, researchers and users by providing free access to equipment and experts, with tech support provided by a dedicated RIF team aided by engineers and scientists from within the BRL.

Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory says, “BRL is leading the way in Europe in this project, providing a service that bridges the gap between industry and the latest research in robotics. At BRL we are committed to research that that has a positive impact on society, industry and the economy. The RIF is an opportunity for us to share the latest innovations in robotics and support existing and new businesses in an ever increasing competitive economy.”

Want to know more? Visit the RIF Website, or read our profile on the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

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Geraint Evans