INNOVATIVE Total Solutions, based in Middleton, has built a new product which could have a significant impact on production lines globally.
The family owned manufacturer, in collaboration with Queen’s University in Belfast, has designed a robot that uses vision to operate. This ability to “see” means the robot can identity random parts within a production line and put them in a known location. This has a wide application for a number of industries globally, including the automotive, plastic moulding and medical device sectors.
In recognition of its achievement, Innovative Total Solutions has been awarded Exemplar Status by InterTradeIreland. It is one of only five businesses to be recognised in this category across the island of Ireland.
The firm took part in InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme –which supports business development and innovation by matching companies with third level institutions, and high calibre graduates. InterTradeIreland also provides funding to the businesses to help pay the graduate, who works directly with the firm to deliver new products or improve processes.
Managing Director, Dan Buckley said: “We found the Innovation Boost programme to be very beneficial. It was great to be able to employ a specialist graduate and to also lean on the expertise of Queen’s University in Belfast.
"It’s easy to apply for and I would recommend contacting InterTradeIreland if you are keen to help your business innovate.”
Alan Morrow, Assistant Director at InterTradeIreland commented: “This is a company with its eye firmly on the future. It’s open to new products and processes. This is what the Innovation Boost programme is about - giving firms the tools to boost their business though innovative collaboration.
“The partnership between Innovative Total Solutions, graduate John Caulfield, and the external support from Queen’s University has made a real difference. There is a commercial benefit to both the company and local area. We’re delighted to recognise the firm with Exemplar status.”
Alan Mills from the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University added: “This is a great example of what can happen when business and academia collaborate. From my point of view, it’s useful to see the practical real time industrial application of robots and vision systems. From an SME’s point of view, working with a University means you can gain valuable knowledge and also upskill new and existing staff.”
Mr Buckley firmly agrees: “Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of collaborative robots for many businesses worldwide. Through our work with InterTradeIreland and Queen’s University, we now have a new product to supply to the global market.”