New EU-funded project, ROBOTT-NET is to provide free consultations for companies that are investigating how automation and robotics could benefit their businesses.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, will run the UK’s ROBOTT-NET programme and offer free consulting to companies who develop or deploy automation technology in industrial production.
The MTC has joined forces with three of Europe’s other leading research organisations: Fraunhofer IPA (Germany), and the Danish Technological Institute (Denmark) and Tecnalia (Spain), to speed up the development of new robotic technologies and increase the competitiveness across Europe’s manufacturing sector.
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Companies of all sizes with a concrete idea, challenge or development project related to industrial robots are eligible to apply for vouchers that gives the applicant approximately 400 hours of free consulting. The MTC expects the project to be of greatest benefit to SMEs and mid-sized companies.
The best two project applications from each country’s centre will receive an EU grant of up to €150,000 (approx £120,000) to develop their robotic manufacturing system.
‘Open Lab’ demonstrator events will be held in all four countries, with the UK’s first Open Lab to be hosted on 26 May. These events will provide more information on how companies can apply for the vouchers, and how to secure the further development assistance of up to €150,000.
“We need to get more automation into supply chain companies, in the UK but also in Europe, to become more globally competitive,” says Neil Rawlinson, strategic development director at the MTC, who adds that it is recognised that “the UK lags everyone else [in automation].”
“Theoretically there is a 30% productivity improvement for UK businesses if we get automation into the supply chain, to reach the same levels as Germany or Japan.”
To award the funding, ROBOTT-NET will provide consultancy for 64 companies across the four countries, 16 per centre. From this pool, the strongest two applications per centre will be awarded the €150,000 grant.
The funding sits under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 project, the EU’s biggest ever innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding to deploy from 2014 to 2020. The first of MTC’s Open Labs, is hosted at the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre on 26th May.
In addition to ROBOTT-NET, the MTC is involved in several other projects to help SMEs across UK supply chains use manufacturing technology to raise productivity and recently launched its 300-page Manufacturing Change Handbook and Government subsidised services for small to medium sized businesses.
For more information on the MTC’s Open Lab event: www.the-mtc.org/openlab
And for ROBOTT-NET visit: www.the-mtc.org/our-projects/robott-net
Or to request a Change Handbook contact: [email protected]