Robotics specialist targets global growth with immersive technology investment

1 min read

A Cumbrian engineering firm, supported by Made Smarter, is using immersive technologies to drive global growth and innovation, and create new highly skilled jobs.

Forth Engineering, based in Flimby, specialises in the manufacture of bespoke robotics that can be used in harsh environments for nuclear, oil and gas, marine, and renewables sectors. 

With the support of Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme, Forth is investing in a hardware and software solution which will allow its client to step into a virtual room and interrogate a 3D model of their asset from anywhere in the world. They are adapting office space to create a mixed reality studio and will use a leading Extended Reality (XR) headset and mixed reality smart glasses to enable customer demonstrations.

The use of digitalisation, immersion, and presentation technologies will allow Forth to deliver innovative and novel solutions to complex problems globally, opening new markets and increasing services offered to customers.  

The team of 38 staff believe the value-added service will give it a competitive advantage as it is forecast to increase GVA by at least £500,000 over the next three years and in the process create five new, highly skilled jobs.

Mark Telford, Managing Director, said this service will raise its profile in the global, harsh environment market and support its growth strategy to double turnover by £2m each year and help to upskill the team, secure jobs, and increase job satisfaction.

The solution works by converting 3D data of assets into a model using 3D visualisation software, allowing the asset to be viewed within virtual/mixed reality environments in a true to life scale. Forth will then use a leading Extended Reality (XR) headset to project a precise visual representation of the asset into a room at their facility. Meanwhile, mixed reality smart glasses are sent to the customer to access a virtual face-to-face meeting or inspection scenario from the safety and comfort of their own office. 

Mark added: “We are creating a platform where two fantastic technologies meet. By taking the best of the headset’s ability to project a high intensity AR image and the smart glasses’ ability to import a hologram of a person, we can show clients their assets in staggering precision.

Donna Edwards, Made Smarter’s North West Adoption Programme Director, said: “Forth is among hundreds of manufacturers in the region grasping the opportunities offered by Made Smarter which include expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help take that first step to transform a business, and support with technology investment. I would encourage other SME manufacturers to do the same.”